New SAMHSA app helps people with serious mental illness develop a crisis plan

SAMHSA app will help people who have a serious mental illness to develop a crisis plan

The app provides an easy, step-by-step process for individuals to create and share a plan ( psychiatric advance directive, or PAD) to guide their treatment during a mental health crisis. The PAD is a legal document that includes a list of instructions and preferences that the individual wishes to be followed 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.

“Individuals living with serious mental illness have been a priority focus of SAMHSA and the Trump Administration,” said Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, Ph.D. “This app is a great step toward empowering individuals with serious mental illness to make decisions about their care.”

“The My Mental Health Crisis Plan app provides a simple, convenient and effective way to create and share a psychiatric advance directive,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA. “We are pleased to partner with SAMHSA in creating this important technological tool for people with serious mental illness.”

My Mental Health Crisis Plan is available in the
Apple App Store and Google Play.

Learn more about the App.

Video: What is a PAD?

Video: How to Use the App.