As Psychiatric Advance Directive allows an individual to designate who would make mental health decisions for the patient in the event the patient cannot speak for himself or herself and mental health treatment is required. Currently, 25 States have statutes recognizing the validity of psychiatric advance directives, but other States such as Georgia, are considering them.

Historically, psychiatric advance directives are legal instruments that offer three types of self-directed planning for the patient’s own mental health care in anticipation of subsequent incapacity: (1) informed consent to future treatment; (2) a statement of personal values and preferences to guide future health care decisions; and (3) appointment of a mental health agent to act as proxy decision maker for mental health treatment. In Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, the Supreme Court found that where the “prior expressed wishes” of an incapacitated patient can be determined by clear and convincing evidence, those wishes should be honored. The federal Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 allows patients to documents their expressed prior wishes and requires hospitals and other health care organizations to inform patients of their rights under state law to prepare an AD, to inquire and document whether patients have executed advance directives, to ensure compliance with state laws by respecting advance directives, and to educate health care providers regarding these legal instruments.

Georgia HB 752 (2021-2022 legislative session)

NAMI: Psychiatric Advance Directives

A Practical Guide to Psychiatric Advance Directives

Psychiatric Advance Directives and the Right to be Presumed Competent

Current version of statutory form in HB 752:

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