Psychiatric Advance Directives

Having a say in your mental health treatment is an important part of recovery.  Unfortunately, far too many individuals have not taken the necessary steps to provide guidance and directives on the treatment they would like to receive when experiencing a mental health crisis or are incapable of making sound decisions about their mental health treatment and care.   NAMI North Carolina is working to increase public awareness of the use and value of Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs), and is a leader in encouraging the development of PADs as a tool of self-advocacy and effective crisis planning.

What is a Psychiatric Advance Directive?  In short, a Psychiatric Advance Directive, or PAD as it is often referred to,  is a legal document that tells treatment providers your preferences for treatment in a mental health crisis. You can give consent for or decline specific future psychiatric treatment, AND/OR authorize a trusted person to make treatment decisions in a crisis, based on your written preferences (also called health care power of attorney or health care agent). If you are in a psychiatric crisis and in a state of mind where you cannot speak for yourself or communicate treatment decisions, the crisis treatment provider can activate your PAD.

Want to learn more? Click here to access a printable FAQ about PADs or send email request to

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