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People with severe mental illness (SMI) report difficulty in making health-related decisions. Informed choice tools are designed to guide individuals through a decision-making process.

To determine the effectiveness of these tools for people with SMI and to identify what methods and processes may contribute to effectiveness.

A systematic electronic search was conducted for studies published between 1996 and January 2018. The search was updated in March 2020. Studies of any design reporting the development or evaluation of any informed choice tool for people with SMI were considered. A structured, narrative synthesis was conducted.

Ten articles describing four tools were identified. Tools were designed to assist with decision-making around bipolar treatment, smoking cessation and disclosure of mental illness in employment situations. Positive changes in decisional conflict, stage of change, knowledge and self-efficacy were reported for two tools, though insufficient data exists for definitive conclusions of effectiveness. Feedback from service users and attention to readability appeared key.

The evidence base for informed choice tools for people with SMI is limited. Such tools should be developed in stages and include the views of people with SMI at each phase; readability should be considered, and a theoretical framework should be used to facilitate process evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date8 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2020


  • Severe mental illness
  • bipolar
  • decision-making
  • disorder
  • informed choice tool
  • intervention design
  • schizophrenia


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