• 20Oct

    How online decision aids can support young people with depression

    Mental disorders are the leading cause of disease burden for young people in high-income countries and the leading contributor to years of life lost to disability for young people aged 10-24 worldwide.

    An Australian study published in the Health Expectations Journal has evaluated the impact of an online decision aid for youth depression on shared decision making. It focused on the following four questions:

    • Does a decision aid help young people to make a decision, one that is in line with both the evidence and their personal preferences and values?
    • Does a decision aid help young people to feel involved in the decision-making process, feel satisfied with their decision and feel less confused about what to do?
    • After using a decision aid do young people stick with their original decision, are they adherent to the treatment plan and do they have reduced symptoms of depression?
    • After using a decision aid are clinicians satisfied with the decision?

    66 young people aged 12-25 years with mild, mild-moderate or moderate-severe depression were recruited from two primary care services.

    The “youth depression decision aid” was on online, and was used by both clients and clinicians, including together in clinical appointments, and with caregivers where appropriate. The main sections of the decision aid were: (i) “What matters to you?”, (ii) “Treatment options”, (iii) “Your decision”, and (iv) “Information”.

    The results of this study confirmed that it is possible to support client-centred care and collaborative decision making when treating youth depression.

    After using the decision aid, young people were more able to make a decision and were more likely to choose a treatment in line with the evidence.

    They felt involved in making the decision, reported that it was in line with their values and preferences, were satisfied with the decision and had significantly reduced decisional conflict.

    At approximately 8 weeks after making the decision, they had significantly reduced depression scores and more than 80% of participants were adherent with their treatment choice. This is of particular importance given that non-adherence rates are usually high in this population.

    The full study can be read here.

    Simmons, M. B., Elmes, A., McKenzie, J. E., Trevena, L. and Hetrick, S. E. (2016), Right choice, right time: Evaluation of an online decision aid for youth depression. Health Expect. doi:10.1111/hex.12510