Patients and families are often referred to as important partners in collaborative mental health care (CMHC). However, how to meaningfully engage them as partners remains unclear. We aimed to identify strategies for engaging patients and families in CMHC programs for depression and anxiety disorders.


We updated a Cochrane review of CMHC programs for depression and anxiety disorders. Searches were conducted in Cochrane CCDAN and CINAHL, complemented by additional database searches, trial registry searches, and cluster searches for ‘sibling’ articles. Coding and data extraction of engagement strategies was an iterative process guided by a conceptual framework. We used narrative synthesis and descriptive statistics to report on findings.


We found 148 unique CMCH programs, described in 578 articles. Most programs (96%) featured at least one strategy for engaging patients or families. Programs adopted 15 different strategies overall, with a median of two strategies per program (range 0–9 strategies). The most common strategies were patient education (87% of programs) and self-management supports (47% of programs). Personalized care planning, shared decision making, and family or peer supports were identified in fewer than one third of programs.


Our search strategy was designed to capture programs evaluated in clinical trials and so other innovative programs not studied in trials were likely missed.


Most CMHC programs for depression and anxiety disorders adopted a limited number of strategies to engage patients and families in their care. However, this review identifies numerous strategies that can be used to strengthen the patient- and family-centeredness of collaborative care.

Menear, M., Dugas, M., Careau, E., Chouinard, M. C., Dogba, M. J., Gagnon, M. P., … & Knowles, S. (2020). Strategies for engaging patients and families in collaborative care programs for depression and anxiety disorders: A systematic review. Journal of affective disorders263, 528-539.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.11.008