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Psychiatric Advance Directives

NM Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) for Mental Health Treatment and How They Can Help

What is an Advance Directive?
It is a legal document. It defines what future treatment you want if you are not able to make decisions about your mental health care.
  • An advance directive empowers you to make treatment preferences known.
  • An advance directive will improve your communication with a physician. It can prevent clashes with professionals over treatment and may prevent forced treatment.
  • Having an advance directive may shorten a hospital stay.
Advance Directives in New Mexico: PAD
The Mental Health Care Treatment Decisions Act is the New Mexico law about advance directives. It allows written instructions for psychiatric treatment if you are unable to make or communicate your instructions.

In New Mexico, " an advance directive for mental health treatment" is called a PAD (Psychiatric Advance Directive). Learn more [link to brochure]. The law includes a standard form. It is not mandatory but is recommended. Get a copy of the form to use [link to form]. See frequently asked questions [link to FAQs]. You have to be 18 or older to create a PAD.

You may use an advance directive for mental health treatment to express any and all wishes a consumer has about their mental health treatment, including refusals of treatment.

You can appoint an agent
You can name someone in writing to have your "Power of Attorney." That means the person can make mental health care service decisions for you if you are not able to. The decisions should be in your best interests and in accordance to your wishes. There are some rules about who can be your agent:
  • The agent must know you and be willing to take this responsibility.
  • You both sign the PAD naming the person.
  • A witness must sign it too. The witness must not be your agent, an employee of your health care organization, a beneficiary of your estate or a relative of yours.
A PAD is valid until you change or end it.

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