Mental health advance directives

Are you ready to complete a mental health advance directive?

What is a mental health advance directive?

A mental health advance directive is a legal written document that describes what you want to happen if your mental health problems become so severe that you need help from others. This might be when your judgment is impaired and/or you are unable to communicate effectively.

It can inform others about what treatment you want or don't want, and it can identify a person to whom you have given the authority to make decisions on your behalf.

For more information, please read the advance directives information for consumers pamphlet.

Can I change or revoke my mental health advance directive?

  • Yes. As long as you have capacity you can change or revoke your mental health advance directive at any time. 
  • If you are incapacitated, you can only change or revoke your directive if it is already written. 
  • Changes need to be made in writing. 
  • Make sure that you tell everyone who has a copy of your directive about any changes that you make to your directive. 

What do I need to do?

Download and complete a mental health advance directive form.

Where can I get a form?

Who should get my completed form?

If you name an agent to represent you, you must give them a copy. 

You may also want to give copies to:

  • Your current mental health care providers
  • Your lawyer
  • Trusted family members

What if I already have a living will or other durable power of attorney?

If there is a conflict between a mental health advance directive and any other directive, like a living will, the newer document will have legal priority. To reduce confusion, it is probably best to have one person act as your mental health advance directive agent and durable power of attorney.

Where can I go for more information about mental health advance directives?

To create a mental health advance directive go to:

  • The Department of Social and Health Services Legal Services page.
  • Read the law, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 71.32
  • Call your local mental health provider or ombuds service.
  • Call the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery’s (DBHR) office of Recovery Partnerships at 1-800-446-0259.