Journal of American College Health publishes special article on psychiatric advance directives

Rates of serious mental illness among university students are drastically rising, and universities are struggling with how to respond to students who show symptoms. Traumatic situations such as academics, financial problems, family problems, intimate and other relationship issues, and career related issues are leaving students overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, lonely, hopeless and depressed.

Volume 60, Issue 1, 2012 of the Journal of American College Health includes publication of the first ever feasibility study on Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) for college students. PADs allow students who are living with serious mental illnesses to plan ahead with a support person, creating and documenting an intervention strategy to be used in the event of a psychiatric crisis.

The study entitled University Students' Views on the Utility of Psychiatric Advance Directives was conducted by Anna M. Scheyett, PhD and Adrienne Rooks, MSW. The researchers found that students perceived PADs as beneficial.

"With a PAD, university students could give permission for the university to communicate with relevant support people, identify warning signs of relapse, describe effective interventions and give advance permission for administration of specific medications," wrote Scheyett and Rooks. "By providing this novel intervention, we may be able to ensure that university students not only get the care they need during crises but also reduce crises through early and effective action and treatment."

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