Southern Regional AHEC Receives $505,000 Grant from The Duke Endowment for Psychiatric Advance Directives

Fayetteville – Southern Regional Area Health Education Center of Fayetteville has received a $505,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to fund the implementation and dissemination of mental health crisis planning through psychiatric advance directives. Psychiatric advance directives (PADS) are legal documents that permit individuals with mental illnesses to declare their preferences and instructions for future mental health treatment, or appoint a surrogate decision maker through a health care power of attorney, in advance of an incapacitating psychiatric crisis. The Endowment grant will be used to train community volunteers to facilitate the completion of PADS and educate providers and health systems on how to use them.

“Psychiatric patients in crisis often experience prolonged hospital emergency room stays due to a statewide shortage of psychiatric beds and alternative community services,” says Southern Regional AHEC board member Marvin S. Swartz, M.D., professor and head of the Division of Social and Community Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, director of the Duke AHEC Program and director of the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives. “Many of these patients face these long stays, in part, because they are too ill to give a good history or consent to treatment.”

He also said that most people need help in creating psychiatric advance directives as legal documents and, until now, there have been few resources to help complete them. “We are excited that this timely funding from The Duke Endowment will help to facilitate training that has been shown to prevent and manage these psychiatric crises by providing clinicians with well-designed crisis plans, advance consent to treatment and a legally appointed person to make decisions for the patient during a crisis.” Training from the grant will be implemented through a unique partnership with the NC Evidence-Based Practice Center at SR-AHEC, the National Alliance for Mental Illness-NC, the NC Division of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives at Duke, regional Medicaid Managed Behavioral Health Care organizations and clinicians across the state.

For more information on this grant program, contact SR-AHEC marketing director Karen Mantzouris at 910-678-7269 by telephone or by e-mail at or visit our website at Specific information on training will also be available on the NC EBP Center site at
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

Published on December 2, 2016 by Karen Mantzouris