“This time, with a PAD, I did not receive any treatments that I did not want. They were very respectful. I really felt like the hospital took better care of me because I had my PAD. In fact, I think it’s the best care that I’ve ever received.” Read More PAD Stories...

About PADs

  • A psychiatric advance directive (PAD) is a legal document that documents a person’s preferences for future mental health treatment, and allows appointment of a health proxy to interpret those preferences during a crisis.
  • PADs may be drafted when a person is well enough to consider preferences for future mental health treatment.
  • PADs are used when a person becomes unable to make decisions during a mental health crisis.

State by State Info


Psychiatric advance directives are relatively new legal instruments that may be used to document a competent person’s specific instructions or preferences regarding future mental health treatment. Psychiatric advance directives can be used to plan for the possibility that someone may lose capacity to give or withhold informed consent to treatment during acute episodes of psychiatric illness.

Almost all states permit advance directives for healthcare, which can be used to direct at least some forms of psychiatric treatment. In the past decade, twenty-five states have adopted specific psychiatric advance directives statutes.

This site offers an introduction to psychiatric advance directives, state-by-state information about advance directives, instructions and forms, discussion forums, educational webcasts, current research, links to other websites, and more!

*Information is accurate as of January 2024.