Collaborative care is a system-level approach to treating depression and other mental illnesses over time. It was developed because many patients with depression and other mental illnesses fall through the cracks, either discontinuing treatment or staying on ineffective treatments.
Collaborative care systematically screens for mental health conditions and tracks progress over time, adjusting treatment when an individual has not achieved their target symptom or functioning goals. Trained primary care physicians provide most of the mental health treatment, with support from consulting psychiatrists and other team members including care managers. A large body of scientific research demonstrates the effectiveness of collaborative care in addressing mental disorders in primary care settings.
If you are getting treated for a mental disorder such as depression in primary care, you can ask your primary care provider whether they have any systems in place to track your progress over time and make that you are getting the best possible care.
More information about collaborative care can be found here.