Communicating my preferences: mental health advance directives and My Health Record
This resource has been developed by Mental Health Australia, informed by a lived experience advisory group, as part of an activity funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
You can now share your choices about future mental health treatment by uploading a mental health advance directive to My Health Record. This means health professionals can quickly see and understand your choices if you become unwell and can’t speak for yourself.
What is a mental health advance care directive?
Advance care planning is a voluntary process about communicating your preferences for future health care. This includes mental health advance directives where you can document your preferences about future mental health treatment if you become unwell and are unable to communicate your preferences or deemed to have reduced decision-making capacity. For example, you can document your values and preferences around treatment and recovery, including medication and nominating carers and what information is shared with them.
There are different rules in different states and territories about how to make an advance directive about general healthcare or mental health treatment, and the extent to which treating teams must follow this guidance.
How do I make a mental health advance care directive?
Each state and territory has a different process for making a mental health advance directive. See the links below for further information about each state and territory, or you can talk to your GP or healthcare provider.
You can also find more information about advance care planning documents at the Advance Care Planning Australia website.
Why should I upload a mental health advance care directive to My Health Record?
Your My Health Record is a safe and secure place to keep your key health information. You and your healthcare provider/s, such as doctors, specialists and hospital staff, can view and add information to your record whenever it is needed.
Including a copy of your mental health advance care directive in your My Health Record means healthcare providers will quickly and securely be able to see this document if needed, and so are more able to consider your preferences in your healthcare or treatment. It may also be useful for trusted friends, family members or carers who act as your Authorised or Nominated Representative and have access to your My Health Record.
How do I upload a mental health advance directive to My Health Record?
You, your Authorised or your Nominated Representative can upload a mental health advance directive or any other advance care planning document to your My Health Record online. See instructions on how to do so on the Australian Digital Health Agency website, or in the video below:
You can use your My Health Record to view and update your advance care planning documents at any time.
For further information about privacy and access to your My Health Record visit the Australian Digital Health Agency website
What about other advance care planning documents?
There are different kinds of advance care planning documents you can create to communicate your preferences about health care if you become seriously unwell for whatever reason and are unable to communicate your preferences or make decisions.
Advance care planning helps to ensure your loved ones and health providers know what matters most to you and respect your treatment preferences.
For more information about advance care planning and how to make any of these other documents in your state or territory, visit the Advance Care Planning Australia website or contact the National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582.
You or your organisation are invited to spread the word about uploading mental health advance directives to My Health Record. Links to resources will be provided here soon.
For more information, contact us.
Download shareable social media tiles
Access via Google Drive
Printable or digital brochure
Attend a live webinar
Attend a webinar on My Health Record with the Australian Digital Health Agency
Free lesson on Advance Care Planning
My Health Record for Community Mental Health Organisations
Communicating my preferences: My Health Record and mental health advance directives
Click below to download the report of a survey of people with lived experience of mental health challenges and carers on My Health Record and uploading advance mental health directives.
Mental Health Australia partnered with Lived Experience Australia to do this research.