A mental health treatment preference declaration is an advance directive specific to mental health. It lets you state your wishes about mental health treatment when you have mental illness and are unable to make these decisions for yourself. You can state whether you want to receive certain medications or electroconvulsive treatment (ECT). It also allows you to say whether you wish to be admitted to a mental health facility for up to 17 days of treatment and whether there is a particular health professional that should be consulted if you are having mental health issues.
In this document, you (the “principal”) can state your wishes and/or you can appoint someone (called an “attorney-in-fact”) to make your mental health decisions for you. You cannot appoint your health care professional nor any employee of a health care facility in which you reside to be your attorney-in-fact. The person you appoint must accept the appointment in writing before he or she can start making decisions regarding your mental health treatment. The person you appoint must make decisions consistent with the wishes you stated in your declaration unless a court orders differently or an emergency threatens your life or health.
A mental health treatment preference declaration is only good for three years from the date you sign it. It must be witnessed by two people and those two people cannot be your health care professional, an employee of a health care facility in which you reside, or a family member related by blood, marriage or adoption. You may cancel your declaration in writing prior to its expiration as long as you are not receiving mental health treatment at the time of cancellation. If you are receiving mental health treatment, your declaration will not expire and you may not cancel it until the treatment is successfully completed.