The Decider Life Skills with mental health student nurses

Eimar O'Sullivan and Eimear Gogan identified that student mental health nurses were dealing with more stress than other students and aimed to explore the effectiveness of CBT oriented skills training (The Decider Life Skills) 



The Decider Life Skills training as a method of promoting resilience with mental health student nurses on clinical placement

By Eimear O’Sullivan, Eimear Gogan, Louise Doyle, Grainne Donohue


University nursing students face higher levels of stress than those in other undergraduate programmes with 67% of student nurses report significant levels of distress during their training.

Studies have shown students with higher levels of resilience have improved sense of well-being thus enhancing their academic performance.

This trial study worked with a group of student mental health nurses practising The Decider Life Skills to increase their resilience. 


Aims of the pilot study

  • To explore the effectiveness of a CBT orientated skills training (The Decider Life Skills) [6] with mental health student nurse’s experience of practice placement

  • To promote resilience & thus improving sense of well-being for mental health nursing students & enable them to become more reflective, resourceful & responsible during their clinical practice placement


Published:  Nurse Education in Practice

Volume 56, October 2021, 103222



  • The Decider Life Skills had a positive influence on participants’ clinical placement.
  • The skills were understandable and easily applied professionally and personally.
  • Participants’ used skills during their interactions with staff when receiving feedback.
  • Training increased participants’ confidence in facilitating service-user groups.
  • Training improved participants’ self-care and protection of their mental health.


The findings from this study that the Decider Life Skills helped students cope in stressful situations and become more mindful of protecting their own mental health is important, as there is a need to safeguard the emotional well-being of mental health nursing students and support them to become resilient practitioners.



See "View Poster" link to the right to see the poster presentation from Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit Conference, September 2018.



"I used it (the STOPP skill) recently. I got some negative feedback that I thought was undeserved. I'd usually be outspoken & I just said STOPP, take the criticism & work from there”. Student mental health nurse

Poster Presentation

View Poster

CBT & DBT Evidence

A summary of the evidence basis for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), the psychological theory and practice that serve as the foundation for the Decider Skills.


James Murray & Lia Tostevin

The Decider Life Skills in Schools

Evidence suggesting increased mental health and wellbeing problems with children gives a rationale for developing and delivering proactive interventions. The Decider Skills is a framework that aims to teach children skills to manage their emotions and wellbeing. This study looked at whether students who participate in the programme as a whole-school approach would demonstrate an increased ability to recognise and better manage their emotions as rated by themselves, their parents, and their teachers.


The Decider Skills - The Evidence

The Decider Skills - evidence for each of the skills


The Decider Life Skills - The Evidence

Read the evidence underpinning each of The Decider Life Skills


Dr Bruce Perry, Beacon House

The Three Rs

Dr Bruce Perry, a pioneering neuroscientist in the field of trauma, has shown us that to help a vulnerable child to learn, think and reflect, we need to intervene in a simple sequence.


The Decider Life Skills in a primary school

The Decider Life Skills as a whole school approach at Amherst Primary School, Guernsey


Susan Hynes

North of Scotland CAMHS

Feedback from a 2 day workshop attended by CAMHS professionals & from young service users. The Decider has since "become embedded in the Inpatient Unit and proved to be very popular with the young people with a good regular weekly attendance. This is a fairly new group but has been measured using the DERS 18 questionnaire which measures aspects of emotional regulation. The results of the group are promising"


Prison Case Study

A Case Study of The Decider Skills being effectively used in a Prison


Evaluation of Upturn Young Person’s Service

University of Southampton's report into Upturn Young Person's Service 2017 using The Decider Life Skills


Chris Phillps & Jenny Burgess, NHS Grampian 2018

NHS Grampian: The Decider Skills Pilot Group

Results from The Decider Skills pilot group held in Aberdeen


The Decider Life Skills in Guernsey

A poster presentation providing a summary of studies 2017


Ann Cunningham & Marion Pink 2019

Wicklow, Ireland

Summary and outcomes for The Decider Skills course in Wicklow, Ireland from January to March 2019.


The Decider Life Skills in a secondary school

Ladies College in Guernsey implemented The Decider Life Schools as a pilot project over the 2015-2016 academic year.


The Decider Skills pilot study 2013

Results of the initial pilot study with 20 long term mental health service users which formed the foundation of The Decider Skills programme in 2012-2013.


Dr James Murray

CAMHS data for The Decider Skills

Outcome data for young people who completed The Decider Skills group in 2016


NHS Highland and Robert Gordon University 2018

Delivering The Decider Life Skills via Highland Pharmacists

A multi-perspective evaluation of specialist mental health clinical pharmacist prescribers practising within general practices in NHS Highland


Portlaoise Poster

The Decider Skills group show evidence of a reduction in global distress, anxiety and depression


Ayres & Vivyan

Guernsey's Mental Health Services - The Decider Life Skills Workshops

During 2016, 55 service users and 23 staff attended The Decider Life Skills half day workshop. Brief report and feedback.


The Hub

The Hub in a Guernsey secondary school

The Hub teaches The Decider Life Skills to a target group of students


STOPP skill - the evidence base


Lockdown in a specialised rehabilitation unit


Palumbo, R., Di Domenico, A., Fairfield, B. et al.


When twice is better than once: increased liking of repeated items influences memory in younger and older adults