Powered by the Evidence-based Practice Centers

Caregiver Involvement in Mental Health Care

NOMINATED TOPIC | May 25, 2022

1. What is the decision or change (e.g. clinical topic, practice guideline, system design, delivery of care) you are facing or struggling with where a summary of the evidence would be helpful?

In what ways is family/informal caregiver support (around diagnosis, treatment, shared decision making, etc.) beneficial for people living with depression or bipolar disorder and does that involvement help to prevent suicides? What benefit(s) accrue to healthcare providers and patients from family caregiver involvement?

2. Why are you struggling with this issue?

We believe that family caregivers can play a variety of essential roles in helping their loved ones living with depression, bipolar disorder, and/or suicidal ideation or behaviors to get care and get well, yet clinicians often do not invite or appreciate their involvement throughout diagnosis and treatment. We would like to be able to demonstrate to clinicians (as well as people livin g with a mood disorder and their families) that family caregiver involvement supports better treatment experience and better treatment outcomes.

3. What do you want to see changed? How will you know that your issue is improving or has been addressed?

We would like to see policies adopted (e.g., by states for facilities and agencies under their authority and for health care licensees; by professional associations in their practice standards and codes of ethics) that promote family caregiver involvement in mental health care, particularly for people living with depression or bipolar disorder. If, as we suspect, family caregiver involvement yields better treatment outcomes, we could see reductions in rates of psychiatric re-hospitalization, duration of treatment/length of time to achieve recovery, suicide attempts, and suicide deaths along with increases in satisfaction with and adherence to treatment. This could alleviate some of the burden on mental health care providers because they would have an ally in care and also reduce the stress level (and potential for developing depression) among family caregivers.

4. When do you need the evidence report?

Fri, 06/30/2023

5. What will you do with the evidence report?

The timeframe is arbitrary because the information would be useful at any time for families living with depression or bipolar disorder, for mental healthcare practitioners, and for governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations concerned with the quality of mental healthcare and with suicide prevention. Our organization would use the evidence report to bolster the role of family caregivers in advocating for their loved ones who live with depression or bipolar disorder, both through programs and promotional activities (e.g., publicizing the report's findings via social media). Ideally, the evidence report would be used by regulators and advocacy organizations to affect practice standard s, codes of ethics for healthcare professionals, and behaviors of individual mental healthcare practitioners.

Optional Information About You

What is your role or perspective? Caregiver/patient support

If you are you making a suggestion on behalf of an organization, please state the name of the organization? Families for Depression Awareness

May we contact you if we have questions about your nomination? Yes

Page last reviewed May 2022
Page originally created May 2022

Internet Citation: Caregiver Involvement in Mental Health Care. Content last reviewed May 2022. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Select to copy citation