Mental health document allows patients to retain choice during crisis

TAKE CHARGE-Faith Ryhne works as a peer support specialist to walk people through the process of filling out a psychiatric advance directives for mental health care. Photo by Brooke Randle

When Faith Rhyne needed help to head off an oncoming mental health crisis, she turned to emergency health providers. But before she knew it, she was being restrained and forcibly medicated, triggering a full-blown panic attack.

Rhyne knew that she had PTSD. Her health care providers did not.

“It was really, really horrifying,” Rhyne recalls. “I know that everybody was doing their best and acting by protocol, but if I’m in a position where I’m overwhelmed and in distress to an extent that I’m not able to effectively communicate my needs and preferences, I lose power.”

While at the time the experience left her feeling helpless, it also spurred her to action years later.