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Create Your Own Mental Health Advanced Directive

Mental health
Written by Legal Aid WV


An “advance directive” is a legal tool to assure that people follow your wishes at some point in the future when you are not present or not able to express your desires yourself.

  • For example, a Living Will is an advance directive about what kind of care you want to have if/when you are in a “terminal condition.”
  • As another example, a Medical Power of Attorney lets you give instructions about your own medical care at times when you may not be conscious or able to make decisions.

A Mental Health Advance Directive is a tool for individuals with mental and behavioral health challenges, so they can describe their wishes about mental health treatment at times when they may be experiencing a crisis. Legal Aid has a lot of information about Mental Health Advance Directives on our web site. We offer three items to helping people understand their choices and create their own Mental Health Advance Directive:

  • First, there’s an extensive set of Frequently Asked Questions, to help people understand exactly what they can do with a Mental Health Advance Directive, and what they need to think about before creating one.
  • Second, Legal Aid has created a fill-in-the-blank Mental Health Advance Directive that someone might use. The law does not require any particular form or document, but there are some requirements in order to have a valid Mental Health Advance Directive. When properly filled out, the Legal Aid form will meet all legal requirements.
  • Third, we have created a slide show that goes through the entire form, blank-by-blank, to explain exactly information can be put in each blank. Some parts of the document “must” be filled out;” other parts of the document are optional, for someone to use if they think it’s helpful or ignore if it doesn’t apply to their situation.

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