Background: The involvement of relatives in psychiatric settings has positive impacts on patients’ illness trajectory. However, research results show that the role as a relative is associated with burdens and consequences in everyday life, which have an impact on the relatives’ experiences and resources to involve themselves in the care and treatment of their loved ones.

Aim: To investigate relatives’ experiences of being involved by health care professionals in care and treatment in adult psychiatric units.

Method: Systematic review of 14 peer-reviewed qualitative studies.

Results: Two categories, ‘to be recognised as partners’ and ‘to be recognised as human beings’, and one sub-category, ‘to be informed’, were identified.

Conclusion: This study underlines the importance of involving relatives in care and treatment by acknowledging relatives’ need both for being included as a resource and for being seen as human beings with individual needs. On this basis, implications for practice are suggested.

Keywords: involvement, literature review, mental health, relatives, qualitative research