9 Major Depression Nursing Care Plans


Included in this nursing care plan guide are nine (9) nursing diagnosis for major depression. Get to know the nursing assessment, interventions, goals, and related factors to the different nursing diagnosis for major depression.

What is Major Depression? 

Major depression (or major depressive disorder) is classified under mood disorders which are characterized by disturbances in the regulation of mood, behavior, and affect that go beyond the normal fluctuations that most people experience.

You can learn more about major depression in our study guide here.

Nursing Care Plans for Major Depression

Nursing care plan goals for patients with major depression includes determining a degree of impairment, assessing the client’s coping abilities, assisting the client to deal with the current situation, providing for meeting psychological needs, and promote health and wellness.

Here are nine (9) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for major depression:

  1. Risk For Self-Directed Violence
  2. Impaired Social Interaction
  3. Spiritual Distress
  4. Chronic Low Self-Esteem
  5. Disturbed Thought Processes
  6. Self-Care Deficit
  7. Grieving
  8. Hopelessness
  9. Deficient Knowledge

Spiritual Distress

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Spiritual Distress

May be related to

  • Chronic illness of self or others.
  • Death or dying of self or others.
  • Lack of purpose in life.
  • Life changes.
  • Pain.
  • Self-alienation.
  • Sociocultural deprivation.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Expresses intense feelings of guilt.
  • Expresses feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Expresses being abandoned by or having anger towards God.
  • Expresses concern with meaning of life/death or belief systems.
  • Expresses lack of hope, meaning, or purpose in life, forgiveness of self, peace, serenity, acceptance.
  • Inability to pray.
  • Inability to express previous state of creativity (e.g., writing, drawing, singing).
  • Inability to participate in religious activities
  • Lack of interest in art.
  • Questions meaning of own existence.
  • Refuses interaction with families, friends or religious leaders.
  • Searching for a spiritual source of strength.

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will feel the connectedness with others to share thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
  • Patient will feel the connectedness with the inner self.
  • Patient will participates in spiritual rites and passages.
  • Patient will discuss with nurse two things that gave his or her life meaning in the past within 3 days.
  • Patient will talk to a nurse or a spiritual leader about spiritual conflicts and concern within 3 days.
  • Patient will keep a journal tracking thoughts and feelings for one week.
  • Patient will state that he/she feels a sense of forgiveness.
  • Patient will state that he/she wants to participate in former creative activities.
  • Patient will state that he/she gained comfort from previous spiritual practices.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Assess what spiritual practices have offered comfort and meaning to the client’s life when not ill.Evaluates neglected areas in the person’s life that, if reactivated, might add comfort and meaning during a painful depression.
Therapeutic Interventions
Encourage client to write a journal expressing thoughts and reflections daily.This will help in identifying important personal issues and one’s thought and feelings surrounding spiritual issues. Writing a journal is a good way to explore deeper meanings in life.
If the client is unable to write, provide a tape recorder.Often speaking aloud helps a person clarify thinking and explore issues.
Discuss with the client what has given comfort and meaning to the person in the past.When depressed, clients usually are having a hard time searching for meaning in life and reasons to go on when feeling hopelessness and despondent.
Suggest that the spiritual leader affiliated with the facility contact the client.Spiritual leaders are familiar in dealing spiritual distress and can offer comfort to the client.
Provide information on referrals, when needed, for religious or spiritual information (e.g., readings, programs, tapes, community resources).When hospitalized, spiritual tapes and readings can be useful; when the client is in the community, client might express other needs.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other care plans for mental health and psychiatric nursing:

References and Sources

References and recommended sources for this care plan guide for major depressive disorder:

  • Boyd, M. A. (Ed.). (2008). Psychiatric nursing: Contemporary practice. lippincott Williams & wilkins.
  • Keltner, N. L. (2013). Psychiatric nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Videbeck, S. L. (2010). Psychiatric-mental health nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Doenges, M. E., Moorhouse, M. F., & Murr, A. C. (2016). Nurse’s pocket guide: Diagnoses, prioritized interventions, and rationales. FA Davis. [Link]
  • Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2016). Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Link]

Paul Martin is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2007. Having worked as a medical-surgical nurse for five years, he handled different kinds of patients and learned how to provide individualized care to them. Now, his experiences working in the hospital is carried over to his writings to help aspiring students achieve their goals. He is currently working as a nursing instructor and have a particular interest in nursing management, emergency care, critical care, infection control, and public health. As a writer at Nurseslabs, his goal is to impart his clinical knowledge and skills to students and nurses helping them become the best version of themselves and ultimately make an impact in uplifting the nursing profession.
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