Preparing for a Crisis: Psychiatric Advance Directives

Erin Sesemann, Therapist, Boone, NC

Dr. Erin Sesemann, PhD, LMFT, CBIS (she/her/hers) takes a holistic approach to counseling with her specialized training in Medical Family Therapy, EMDR therapy, and certification as a Brain Injury Specialist. Her office is based in Boone, North Carolina, offering in-person and online therapy to people across North Carolina.

Have you ever wished you could let people know in advance about what you wanted or didn’t want should you experience a psychiatric crisis or mental health emergency? If so, then keep reading to learn about Psychiatric Advanced Directives.

What are Psychiatric Advance Directives?

Psychiatric Advance Directives are a legal document that you prepare before a crisis that will inform your healthcare providers, family, friends, and/or the supportive people in your life what your preferences are for psychiatric treatment when you are in a crisis or emergency.

Preferences could include, but are not limited to, your preferences for:

  • Medications
  • Facilities
  • Emergency contacts
  • Visitation
  • Typical or usual responses that you might have to hospital settings
  • How hospital staff could best interact with you


There could also be other instructions you need to communicate, such as bills that need to be paid or beloved pets that need care.

There is a National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advanced Directives that provides detailed information on the benefits, limitations, and specific steps that are needed for creating and registering your Psychiatric Advance Directive (also known as PAD). Visit their website or contact them to learn more.

Check out these other blogs for more content about how to help yourself and others with mental health: 

If you are in crisis or need urgent help please call or text: 

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