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


Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Actual, perceived, or anticipated loss

Possibly evidenced by

  • Anger
  • Changes in activity level
  • Changes in immune function
  • Depression
  • Detachment
  • Disorganization
  • Emotional distress
  • Giving meaning of the loss
  • Psychological distress
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Suffering

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will engage in self-care activities at his or her own pace.
  • Patient will demonstrate improvement in handling with the stages of grief at his or her own pace.
  • Patient will verbalize a sense of improvement toward resolution of hope and grief in the subsequent time.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Ask the patient about the losses that happen in his or her life. Discuss how the patient view them.Individuals tend to not recognize the significance of a loss. They fail to accept or talk about their pain and seems that all is well. Denial necessitate physical and psychic energy. When people becomes depressed, they likely do so in a physically and emotionally depleted state.
Assess the patient’s religious beliefs and cultural practices in terms of how they handle their previous losses.Religious beliefs and cultural practices influence how people express and accept the grieving process.
Therapeutic Interventions
Allow the patient to recognize and express feelings and determine the connection between the feelings and the event.Expressing feelings in a nonthreatening environment can aid patients in handling unresolved issues that may be partly responsible for the depression. It can also aids patient relate the feeling to the event.
Suggest alternative methods to determine and cope with underlying feelings of anger, hurt, and rejection.Allows individuals to explore more ways in handling such situation.
If indicated, mention stories of how others have dealt with the same experience.Provides potential solutions and also gives comfort to the patient since the problem can be managed.
Discuss and educate patient the normal stages of grief and accept the reality of related feelings such as guilt, anger, and powerlessness.This allows the patient the acknowledge these normal feelings and remove some of the guilt caused by these feelings.
Assist the patient to determine the problem, recognize the need to address the problem differently, and thoroughly describe all facet of the problem.Before individuals can admit to change, they need clearness about what the problem is.
Assist the patient in recognizing early signs of depression and identify methods to mitigate these signs. If the symptoms persist or worsen, suggest other professional support.This actively involves the patient and conveys the message that the patient is not powerless but rather that options are available.

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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