Shared Decision Making

What is Shared-Decision Making?
Shared decision-making is a way to help make decisions that are important to your recovery.
It helps you and your treatment team work together to make important mental health treatment and service decisions. It helps you to take an active role in your treatment; it helps your treatment team to better be able to talk with you about services to improve treatment out comes and promote your recovery; and supports both you and the treatment team, through the use of decision aids, to make informed decisions about treatment options and choices. doors with key

Why would you want to use this process?
Many clients and treatment providers feel that they already engage in shared decision making because a clinical recommendation was made and you agreed to follow it. You had a choice and you didn’t say no therefore the decision was mutual.  It wasn’t, true shared decision making involves specific tools and processes to make health care decisions. The “tools” helps both you and your treatment team figure out how to have two-way conversations, define what is important to you and how the decisions you make can impact your recovery.

How does it work?
You and your treatment team use “tools” that have been specifically designed for people receiving mental health services. The “tools” are also called “decision aids” have been designed to help you by combining the use of communication skills, information resources, structured decision aids and decision support tools to help you get the most out of your treatment. It was designed to empower individuals and encourage client involvement in treatment.

Where do I find decision aids and what topics do they cover?
The Shared Decision-Making Center at SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) is an interactive and collaborative process between individuals and their health care providers that is used to make health care decisions pertinent to an individual’s personal recovery. This approach is consistent with the values of choice, self-determination, and empowerment and provides a means of enhancing consumer involvement in mental health care which has recognized benefits for positive treatment outcomes. (The SCDMH Office of Client Affairs participated in the SAMHSA/CMHS Shared Decision Making project.)
Other decision topics include and guides can be found at:

  • Personal Decision Guide This is a general decision aid that can help people make a health-related and/or other decisions by helping them to organize their choices and promote thinking/ behaviors that will lead to an informed decision.  (two page format)
  • Disability Calculators
    • Benefits to Work Calculator What will happen to your income, benefits, and health coverage if you go to work? You can use the Benefits and Work Calculator to find out how a job may affect your total income and your health coverage.
    • School and Work Calculator Young people with disabilities can use the School and Work Calculator to find out how a job can affect their cash benefits and health coverage - and how staying in school can help.
    • Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) Calculator can help you advance your career. It lets you set aside money to spend on a career goal while SSI cash benefits pay for essentials like food and rent. Use our PASS Calculator to see if PASS might be a good deal for you.

For Clinicians