Children and Families Policy Research Unit


NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit


Case Study: Mental Health

Mental health in children: deciding what's best, together

Mental Health

Does making decisions in partnership with children and their parents improve child mental health?

1 in 10 children aged 5 to 16 suffer from a mental health disorder. But, troublingly, it's estimated that 70% of these young people have not had the appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. 

But how do we decide what 'appropriate' services should look like? This is a key focus for the mental health researchers of CPRU.

Key Points:

  • We explored whether shared decision-making improved mental health for children
  • Higher levels of child and parent shared decision-making were associated with a greater improvement in mental health
  • However, this was only the case if both the parent and the child were involved in decisions, and not when it was just the child

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This case study is for the Mental Health theme.