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Controlling Your Treatment: Advance Directives

Aaryce Hayes, M.S.W. and Beth Mitchell, J.D., Advocacy Inc.

In many states, the law allows people diagnosed with mental illness to execute documents expressing their choices about mental health treatment, should they be deemed incapable of exercising choice at a later date. This provides a measure of self-determination by allowing prior decision-making about issues such as psychoactive medication, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), and preferences for emergency treatment. Participants will be invited to participate actively in the discussion how Advance Directives might be better implemented, how best to encourage people to draw up Advance Directives, and a range of other issues. The presentation will emphasize the benefits to people of examining their past experience and concretizing their treatment preferences, as well as the role of physicians, family members and other support systems in the development of the directive.