Are there ​standard forms and universal national laws related to psychiatric advanced directives?

Psychiatric Advanced Directives (PADs) are documents used to express future preferences for mental health care. As PDAs are not legally accepted in all states (currently 27 states), there is not a universal form recognized. States vary in what elements may be included (e.g., specifying acceptable psychotropic medications, emergency care, ECT), the establishment of an agent vs. combining authority with a Durable Power of Attorney, and length​ of PDA validity (e.g., 2 years, 3 years, indefinitely/until revoked). Mental Health America (MHA) advocates for the use of PDAs and has numerous resources and information available. To learn more, visit:

The National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advanced Directives (NRC-PAD) provides a state by state guide to regulations and also includes appropriate PAD template forms for use in each state where PADs are legally accepted. For more information, visit:

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