Thursday, October 8, 2020

New App Helps People With Serious Mental Illness Develop a Crisis Plan

APA on Wednesday announced the release of My Mental Health Crisis Plan, a mobile app that allows people with serious mental illness (SMI) to create a plan to inform their treatment should they experience a mental health crisis.

Through the app, users can easily create and share a psychiatric advance directive (PAD), a legal document that outlines one’s preferences around treatment during a crisis. Informational videos in the app explain to users what PADs are and how they work. The app also includes state-specific requirements, such as signatures or witnesses, for completing the PAD.

The app was developed by SMI Adviser, an APA initiative funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“A psychiatric advance directive is an important tool for individuals with serious mental illness to be able to plan ahead and have some control over their treatment at a time when they may not be able to make decisions,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., in a news release. “We are pleased to partner with SAMHSA in creating this important technological tool for people with serious mental illness.”

The app allows users to clearly state their preferences for care, as well as designate a person to make decisions on their behalf in the event of a crisis. They can also choose what hospitals, physicians, and medications they prefer. Additionally, they can note who should be notified about their admission into a psychiatric hospital, and who should care for their children if they are unable to do so.

“During a mental health crisis, you may not be able to think clearly, or you may be confused,” the app’s informational video explains. “A PAD is a way to plan ahead in case of a crisis. … In short, a PAD allows you to be an active part of your treatment even when you are not well...”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “SMI Adviser Smartphone App Delivers Expert Guidance With Just a Few Taps.”


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.