Recent advances in shared decision making for mental health

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008 Nov;21(6):606-12. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32830eb6b4.


Purpose of review: Shared decision making (SDM) in nonmental health populations has documented positive services and health benefits. To advance integration of SDM into mental healthcare, researchers have outlined several priorities for future research. These include (1) clarifying the role of SDM in mental healthcare; (2) understanding patient and provider perspectives on SDM; (3) assessment of SDM practice in mental health settings; and (4) outcomes of SDM in mental health populations. This article will review recent advances in these areas.

Recent findings: The current literature shows that SDM can play a role in the mental health treatment process from entry into care to recovery. Patients and providers find SDM acceptable and express a willingness to engage in SDM for reasons that are multifactorial. Barriers to SDM exist in mental health decision making including patient preferences and provider-level biases. Lastly, outcome research provides encouraging preliminary evidence for feasibility and effectiveness of SDM during the mental health encounter.

Summary: Although there have not been a great number of SDM studies in mental health to date, the positive effects of SDM are comparable to those documented in general nonmental health patient groups, suggesting that future research has the potential to result in findings that are likely to be helpful for patients with psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Decision Making, Organizational*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Mental Health*
  • Psychiatry / methods*
  • Psychiatry / trends*