Accessible summary: Despite the potential positive impact of shared decision making on service users knowledge and experience of decisional conflict, there is a lack of qualitative research on how participation in decision making is promoted from the perspective of psychiatric service users. This study highlights the desire of users to participate more actively in decision making and demonstrates that persons with SMI struggle to be seen as competent and equal partners in decision-making situations. Those interviewed did not feel that their strengths, abilities and needs were being recognized, which resulted in a feeling of being omitted from involvement in decision-making situations. The service users describe some essential conditions that could work to promote participation in decision making. These included having personal support, having access to knowledge, being involved in a dialogue and clarity about responsibilities. Mental health nurses can play an essential role for developing and implementing shared decision making as a tool to promote recovery-oriented mental health services.
Abstract: Service user participation in decision making is considered an essential component of recovery-oriented mental health services. Despite the potential of shared decision making to impact service users knowledge and positively influence their experience of decisional conflict, there is a lack of qualitative research on how participation in decision making is promoted from the perspective of psychiatric service users. In order to develop concrete methods that facilitate shared decision making, there is a need for increased knowledge regarding the users' own perspective. The aim of this study was to explore users' experiences of participation in decisions in mental health services in Sweden, and the kinds of support that may promote participation. Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT) was utilized to analyse group and individual interviews with 20 users with experience of serious mental illness. The core category that emerged in the analysis described a 'struggle to be perceived as a competent and equal person' while three related categories including being the underdog, being controlled and being omitted described the difficulties of participating in decisions. The data analysis resulted in a model that describes internal and external conditions that influence the promotion of participation in decision making. The findings offer new insights from a user perspective and these can be utilized to develop and investigate concrete methods in order to promote user's participation in decisions.
Keywords: grounded theory; participation; recovery; severe mental illness; shared decision making.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.