Behavioral Health and Psychiatry

Why you need a mental health power of attorney

Did you know many advance directives don’t include the authority to make mental health decisions? That’s why it’s vital to protect yourself and your loved ones with a mental healthcare power of attorney, or POA.

As with healthcare and financial powers of attorney, this document is critical for all Arizonans, regardless of age or health status.

Reason #1

If you ever require hospitalization in a Level 1 behavioral health facility, it’s imperative to have a mental healthcare POA in place.

Remember, you don’t need to have a history of mental illness to be at risk; you may need treatment for something as simple as a medication interaction that dramatically affects your mood or behavior.  

Behavioral issues commonly accompany Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In these cases, it’s critical to put a mental healthcare POA in place while you’re still of sound mind. 

Reason #2

Without a mental healthcare POA, if you need inpatient behavioral health treatment but are unable or unwilling to accept it, the only other option is for someone to pursue an emergency guardianship.

Reason #3

In Arizona, a regular healthcare POA doesn’t grant the authority to make decisions related to your mental health.

The same is true for a surrogate decision maker, who is the person healthcare professionals look to if you haven’t executed a healthcare POA.

Learn more. Visit our advance directives site.