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Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal tools that allow individuals with mental health issues to articulate their treatment preferences prior to a mental health crisis. Advance directives can also be used for guardianship appointment, which allows an agent to give consent or make decisions on an individual’s behalf concerning medical, mental health, and financial issues. When used appropriately, advance directives and guardianships protect the autonomy and preferences of individuals with mental health issues. State laws govern the availability and legal structure of psychiatric advance directives, but at least 25 states now have specific laws authorizing their use.

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