Surveys conducted in the mid-1990s found that only a small percentage of patients with a mental disorder had completed a mental health advance directive. (41) However, with concerted educational efforts, this situation could change radically.
Outside the context of a legislative infusion of new moneys into the public mental health system, there is no apparent reason for a service that was previously unavailable to an individual who needed it to suddenly become available because the name of the service is written on a piece of paper as a mental health advance directive. Nor is "My landlord says I need this" likely to be a winning argument with intake workers in many overburdened treatment agencies.
Mental health advance directives, first proposed two decades ago as "psychiatric wills", (36) are permitted in all states, and thirteen states have enacted specific statutes that authorize them.
Medical and mental health advance directives differ in an important experiential respect: because end-of-life care typically occurs only once, the individual is likely to have had little direct experience with being unable to make treatment choices.
Mental health advance directives take two basic forms.
New law and ethics in mental health advance directives; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the right to choose.
Mental health advance directives, first incorporated into law in the United States in the early 1990s, refer to the preferences that have been formally or informally expressed by individuals regarding future decisions that may be taken in times of impairment.