October 4-10, 2020 is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). The year’s theme for MIAW is, “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.”
One thing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) wants people with mental illness and their support team to know is about its new mobile app, My Mental Health Crisis Plan. This app allows individuals to create a plan to guide their treatment during a mental health crisis. The app was developed through SMI Adviser, a project funded by SAMHSA and administered by the American Psychiatric Association.
The app provides a step-by-step process for individuals to create and share a Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD). A PAD is a legal document that includes a list of instructions and preferences that the individual wishes to be followed in case of a mental health crisis, should they not be able to make their own decisions.
My Mental Health Crisis Plan allows individuals with serious mental illness to:
- Clearly state treatment preferences, including treatments to use and those not to use; medications to use and those not to use; preferences for hospitals; and preferences for doctors and other mental health professionals.
- Decide who can act on their behalf, by designating a trusted person (sometimes referred to as “healthcare agent,” “proxy,” or “health care power of attorney”) as a decision-maker on their behalf. Some states require appointment of a decision-maker to carry out the PAD instructions.
- Identify whom to notify in the event of a mental health crisis.
- Share the plan with others, including doctors, other members of the care team, and family and friends.
The app includes state-specific requirements for completing the PAD (such as signatures, witnesses, notary public), and allows it to be shared via PDF or QR code with whomever an individual chooses.
What are some other resources you're using to support the needs of persons with mental illness? How else can we help these individuals feel welcome and supported in adult education spaces?
Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator