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About Shared Decision Making

Why and how did we create this page?

Due to the rapid increase and interest in Shared decision making (SDM) policies, models and decision support interventions, we need to simplify and explain the SDM concept in a family and youth-friendly manner. We aim to highlight specific components, such as modes of delivery and techniques that can be used with various populations to promote SDM behaviour. We have brought together all the work the Centre has done to promote and involve families in SDM.

Patient and public involvement has been conducted throughout the development of the page. Firstly, a social media survey was carried out and our 135 respondents suggested a preference for a digital type resource. Presentations were made to carers and young people to obtain input to develop the idea further.

Next, two workshops were conducted with our Young and Parent Champions to further develop the idea for SDM promotion and what is needed from this resource. From this, we developed the webpage to define SDM and its benefits, and brought together relevant resources to support SDM.

A further three email rounds of input was supplied by young people and carers to refine and update the webpage. The information was segmented into three parts, as suggested by our Champions: a section for young people; a section for parents; and a section for clinicians.

What is the problem?

One in eight (12.8%) of 5 to 19-year-olds have at least one mental health disorder1. As a result families are faced with many decisions such as: how, when and where to seek help 2; agreeing on treatment options when more than one treatment option is available 3; agreeing on the goals of treatment 4 and agreeing on diagnostic tests.5 

Making decisions for young people with mental health problems can be challenging as evident by high levels of disagreement between parents, young people and clinicians.6

What is Shared decision making (SDM)?

Researchers and practitioners suggest that the implementation of shared decision-making (SDM) in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) can be one approach to reduce treatment disagreements 7 and successfully manage a decision-making process that involves balancing multiple perspectives.8

SDM includes the notion of a medical encounter as a "meeting of experts" - the clinician as an expert in mental health and the young person and carers as experts in their own lives, values and circumstances.9 

What are the benefits of SDM?

Shared decision making (SDM) is recognised as a person-centred approach to improving health care quality and outcomes. Studies show that involving service users in CAMHS care and treatment decision is associated with improved health outcomes 10 and higher satisfaction with services.11 SDM ensure families get a voice and those decisions are made with the child's best interest at heart.12

Who lead on this work and how was it funded?

This project was lead by Shaun Liverpool and Centre staff in close collaboration with the Centre's Young ChampionsParent ChampionsEBPU, and you, the public.

The development and promotion of this resource was supported by a public engagement bursary from UCL Culture and This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 722561


Government Statistical Service, 2017

Wolpert et al., 2016

Ackerman, Duff, Dennehy, Mafilios, & Krilov, 2001; Ahmed et al., 2017

Bradley, Murphy, Fugard, Nolas, & Law, 2013; Law & Jacob, 2015

Berger et al., 2017

Barber, Tischler, & Healy, 2006; Biering, 2010; Godley, Fiedler, & Funk, 1998; Amanda Jensen-Doss & Weisz, 2008; A. Jensen-Doss, Youngstrom, Youngstrom, Feeny, & Findling, 2014; Kaplan, Busner, Chibnall, & Kang, 2001; O'Brien, Hernandez, & Spirito, 2015; Simmons, Hetrick, & Jorm, 2011, 2013; Stuntzner-Gibson, Koren, & Dechillo, 1995; Vanheusden et al., 2008; Yeh & Weisz, 2001

Laitner, 2012

Langer & Jensen-Doss, 2018; Wolpert et al., 2012

Tuckett, Boulton, Olson, & Williams, 1985

10 Edbrooke-Childs et al., 2015

11 Hayes, Town, & Lemoniatis, 2018

12, 1989