Most people know that they should have an advance directive or living will in place in the event of a serious illness or injury, so that their loved ones will know what their wishes are. I wondered recently if similar advance directives exist for people with mental illness, so they can state their wishes for care when their illness worsens. Mary Ellen Copeland, a mental health advocate, has designed such a plan.
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (0r WRAP) is an advance directive for people with mental illness to be able to state their wishes when they are healthy for their care when they are not able to make decisions. A sample WRAP includes information about:
- When I am feeling well, I am (describe yourself when you are feeling well):
- The following signs indicate that I am no longer able to make decisions for myself, that I am no longer able to be responsible for myself or to make appropriate decisions.
- When I clearly have some of the above signs, I want the following people to make decisions for me, see that I get appropriate treatment and to give me care and support:
- I do not want the following people
involved in any way in my care or treatment. List names and
(optionally) why you do not want them involved:
- Preferred medications and why:
- Acceptable medications and why:
- Unacceptable medications and why:
- Acceptable treatments and why:
- Unacceptable treatments and why:
- Home/Community Care/Respite Options:
- Preferred treatment facilities and why:
- Unacceptable treatment facilities and why:
- What I want from my supporters when I am feeling this badly:
- What I don’t want from my supporters when I am feeling this badly:
- What I want my supporters to do if I'm a danger to myself or others:
- Things I need others to do for me and who I want to do it:
- How I want disagreements between my supporters settled:
- Things I can do for myself:
A full plan can be purchased on their site for under $20.00, and you can work on it with your health care provider.
The website contains a lot of information about crisis planning, post-crisis planning, wellness recovery exercises, even a special section for people in the military or veterans.
Planning for mental illness issues is just as important as planning for any other type of illness. The plan will become an essential part of your estate plan, so make sure your trusted advisers know where to find a copy of the WRAP document, and keep it updated as your condition changes.
Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts involve complex areas of law. Individual circumstances must be considered before any advice can be given. The general information above is not to be construed as legal advice, which can only be given after consideration of the unique facts of each matter. Please seek the advice or counsel of your attorney, financial advisor or CPA as it may be appropriate.