The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new mobile app, My Mental Health Crisis Plan, which allows individuals who have serious mental illness (SMI) to create a plan to guide their treatment during a mental health crisis. The app was developed through SMI Adviser, a project funded by SAMHSA and administered by the American Psychiatric Association.

The app provides an easy, step-by-step process for individuals to create and share a psychiatric advance directive (PAD). A PAD is a legal document that includes a list of instructions and preferences that the individual wishes to be followed in case of a mental health crisis, should they not be able to make their own decisions.

My Mental Health Crisis Plan allows individuals with serious mental illness to:

  • Clearly state treatment preferences, including treatments to use and those not to use; medications to use and those not to use; preferences for hospitals; and preferences for doctors and other mental health professionals.
  • Decide who can act on their behalf, by designating a trusted person (sometimes referred to as “healthcare agent,” “proxy,” or “health care power of attorney”) as a decision-maker on their behalf. Some states require appointment of a decision-maker to carry out the PAD instructions.
  • Identify whom to notify in the event of a mental health crisis.
  • Share the plan with others, including doctors, other members of the care team, and family and friends.

The app includes state-specific requirements for completing the PAD (such as signatures, witnesses, notary public), and allows it to be shared via PDF or QR code with whomever an individual chooses.

“Individuals living with serious mental illness have been a priority focus of SAMHSA and the Trump Administration,” said Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, Ph.D. “This app is a great step toward empowering individuals with serious mental illness to make decisions about their care.”

“The My Mental Health Crisis Plan app provides a simple, convenient and effective way to create and share a psychiatric advance directive,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA. “We are pleased to partner with SAMHSA in creating this important technological tool for people with serious mental illness.”

My Mental Health Crisis Plan is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. View videos on What is a PAD? and How to Use the App. More information at: www.smiadviser.org/mymhcp.

SMI Adviser

SMI Adviser is funded by SAMHSA and administered by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The APA works closely on this project with a team of experts and 30 other mental health organizations. This team includes individuals, families, clinical experts, peers, and policy makers. For information, visit www.smiadviser.org.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

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