Making decisions

Decisions can be big or small, some are hardly noticeable and some can lead to big changes to your life.                                           

Below is some further information about decision making and advice to help you with the process

Mental capacity

When it comes to making a decision, you might hear the term ‘mental capacity’                                          

Mental capacity means feeling able to understand a decision that needs to be made, think about it and then communicate your views, wishes and feelings about it.

You have the right to be included in decisions about your education and future, unless you feel that it is too difficult for you to be.                                          

You can read more about mental capacity in this leaflet by Supportive Parents.                                          

Shared decision making

Shared decision making means that you will be working with others to come up with the goals that you will be working towards or the treatment or support options that you might need.                                          

This could include working with your parents/carers, support worker, professionals or a supporting agency, team or service.                                                                

Shared decision making will take a person centred approach, which means giving you all the information that you need and listening to your views, wishes and feelings about it.                                                              

You might find this video by Anna Freud on shared decision making, or this video on person centred planning helpful.                                                                 

Steps for decision making

You likely make decisions all the time such as what to wear, what to eat but what about when it comes to the bigger decisions for your life and your education?                                                             

It is usually helpful to break down the decision making into steps, such as:                                                             

  • What is the decision that needs to be made?
  • What are the options to choose from?
  • What is the likely outcome of each option?
  • What is good about each option, what do you like about it?
  • What is bad about each option, what do you dislike about it?
  • Which one feels like the best one for you?
  • What needs to happen next?
  • How will you know it was a good decision for you?

You could write your thoughts down and/or talk it through with someone you trust.          

You could also talk about your goals, what you want to happen and what is the end outcome you want to reach.          

Practice making decisions whenever you can, even small ones are helpful.          

What can I do?

To help you plan, prepare and make decisions, you could think about:          

  • Do you think you have all the information you need?
  • Do you know what the possible options and outcomes are? Are they clear?
  • Do you know why the decision is important and what might happen?
  • Do you have any questions you need to ask?
  • Do you feel rushed or under pressure to make the decision? Take your time to think about it.
  • Do you need to meet a few times to make the decision?
  • What feels right or wrong to you about it? Explore these feelings. Does it feel achievable, scary, safe or exciting for example?
  • Is there a way to break the decision down into smaller ones? Can you make a plan to lead up to a bigger change?
  • Have you made any similar decisions before – how did they go?, Did you learn anything from them?
  • What would happen if you didn’t like the outcome? What would you do?
  • What might be the worst that could happen? Is this a risk you want to take or feel prepared for?
  • Is everyone involved in the process that you think should be?
  • Do you feel comfortable discussing any personal information?
  • Do you know what will happen to all the information?

You could write your thoughts down and/or talk it through with someone you trust.