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Planning for Your Mental Health Treatment


Frequently asked questions

Can I plan now for the mental health treatment I would want if I were in crisis?

Yes. You can plan now for a time when you may be unable to make your own mental health treatment decisions.

How can I plan ahead?

Oregon has a form that you can fill out and sign now to protect yourself when you may be in crisis and are unable to make your own treatment decisions. This form is called a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment (PDF).

Who decides if I am unable to make my own treatment decisions?

Only a court or two physicians can decide if you are unable to understand and make decisions about your mental health treatment.

•A Declaration form is used only when you are unable to understand and make decisions about your mental health treatment.

What kind of advance planning does Oregon's Declaration for Mental Health Treatment allow me to make?

You can make choices about your future mental health care. You can describe the kind of care that you want to receive. You can also describe the kind of care you do not want to receive.

You can make your wishes known about three kinds of mental health treatment: psychoactive medications, electro-shock treatment, and admission to a health care facility for up to 17 days of mental health treatment.

•It is wise to prepare this part of the declaration carefully. You may want to discuss this section with your physician or mental health provider.

Can I ask someone to speak for me when I am in crisis and can't speak for myself?

Yes. You can choose an adult to represent you. This should be someone you trust who can make decisions about your mental health care when you cannot do so for yourself. Of course, the person you name must agree to do so.

On the declaration form your representative is called an "attorney-in-fact."

Do I have to choose a lawyer?

No. Some people may be confused by the words "attorney-in-fact" that are used on the form. The words simply mean a person chosen to act for you: an adult you have chosen to be your representative.

Can my representative make mental health treatment decisions that change my own wishes for treatment?

No. Your representative must follow your wishes. It is wise to talk to your representative about your wishes.

Even if you have not made your wishes known, your representative must make decisions for you that are as close as possible to the kind of decision you would make for yourself if you were capable of doing so.

Although your doctor is not required to give you the medicine you have chosen in your declaration form if your doctor believes it is not good for you, your doctor must have your representative's permission to give you a medicine that is not listed in the declaration.

This is why it is important for you to choose someone who knows you well and whom you can trust.

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How can I make sure that my instructions will be followed?

In order for your instructions to be followed, you or your representative must give copies of your completed declaration form if your doctor believes it is not good for you, your doctor must have your representative's permission to give you a medicine that is not listed in the declaration.

•This is why it is important for your to choose someone who knows you well and whom you can trust.

How can I make sure that my instructions will be followed?

In order for your instructions to be followed, you or your representative must give copies of your completed declaration form to your physician or mental health provider. Your representative should keep a copy, and it is wise to keep a copy for yourself.

Can my instructions ever be changed?

Whether or not you have signed a declaration form, if you are on an emergency psychiatric hold, or if you have been committed by a court, your doctor may still give you a medicine that you don't want. Your doctor can only do this under very strict legal guidelines.

If I make out and sign a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment will it be good forever?

No. A signed Declaration for Mental Health Treatment will only be valid for three years and must be renewed. However, should you become incapable of making mental health treatment decisions during these three years the declaration will remain valid until the time- whenever that may be- that you regain capacity to make your own decisions.

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Can I change my written instructions for mental health treatment or cancel my declaration form?

Yes. As long as you are able to understand the information given to you about the choices that you may make for your mental health treatment, you may change your written mental health treatment instructions or cancel your declaration form.

Of course, in order to make sure that your wishes are followed, you must give your physician or mental health care provider a new declaration form that includes the changes you wish.

However, if a court or two physicians decide that you are unable to understand your mental health treatment options and you are not capable of making choices about your mental health treatment, you will not be permitted to change your written instructions or to cancel your declaration until the time that you regain capacity to understand your treatment options.

But, this is why you have written out your future wishes on this Declaration for Mental Health Treatment form: You want to protect yourself when you are in crisis and are unable to make your own treatment decisions.

If I move out of the state of Oregon, will my declaration form be valid?

It depends on where you want to go. Each state outside of Oregon has its own rules.

Can anyone force me to make out a Declaration for Mental Health?

No. No one, no insurer, no physician, no mental health treatment provider, nor any other person is permitted to attempt to force you to make out a declaration form. It must be your free choice to make out and sign the Declaration for Mental Health Treatment form.

Witnesses who sign your declaration form should be people whom you know and trust. They can verify that you have signed the form by your own free choice, without being forced.

Guide and forms

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Download the guide and forms for the Declaration for Mental Health Treatment (PDF)

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