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King’s College London launches new website to support people making decisions around their mental health

Advance Choice Documents (ACDs) are written or spoken records that allow people living with a mental illness to state in advance what treatment they would like to be offered in the event of becoming unwell. 

This means that those living with a fluctuating mental illness, like bipolar disorder, can better manage severe episodes by providing family, friends, and healthcare professionals key information regarding how best they can be treated. 

ASDs are developed collaboratively with the patient and healthcare professional, andinclude personalised treatment requirements, such as the use of specific medication whilst outlining interventions that could hinder recovery, such as the use of needles or incorrect dosage.

Although the use of ACDs is outlined in NHS guidelines, there is an overall lack of awareness and resources available to those wanting to include one in their health plan.

ACDs have been endorsed by the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Lade Smith:”Ideally, there should be a mandatory requirement of services to offer advance choice documents to anybody who’s ever been detained under the Mental Health Act – that’s what we’d like to see.”

Additionally, recent research has suggested that the use of ACDs could reduce the rate of sectioning by up to 25%. 

The recently launched Advance Choice website has been set up to provide free support and resources to those wanting to use an ACD in their care, as well as raise awareness of how people living with a mental health condition can continue to advocate for themselves in the event of an episode.

This new site from King’s College London is led by researcher Dr Tania Gergel, who lives with bipolar disorder, and has credited the effectiveness of ACDs in her own care through specifying treatment methods that work best for her, such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

Find out more about the Advance Choice website in the Guardian

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Website | Advance Choice






Ellie Short

Ellie is the Communications Officer for NCMH and the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetic and Genomics at Cardiff University.

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