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

  • Hopelessness

May be related to

  • Losses, stressors, and the burdensome symptoms of depression

Possibly evidenced by

  • Decreased affect
  • Decreased judgment
  • Impaired decision making
  • Inability to establish goals
  • Loss of interest in life
  • Passivity, decreased verbalization
  • Sleep disorders
  • Socially repressed
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Negative ruminations

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will express feelings and acceptance of life events over which he or she has no control.
  • Patient will demonstrate independent problem-solving techniques to take control over life, and does not verbalize or demonstrate suicidality.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Assess individual signs of hopelessness.This aids focus attention on aspects of individual needs. These signs may include social withdrawal, decreased physical activity, and comments made by patient that indicate despair and hopelessness.
Assess destructive behaviors used to handle with feelings such as withdrawal, avoidance, substance abused.The patient may have tried to overcome feelings of hopelessness with harmful and ineffective behaviors. Acknowledging these behaviors provides an opportunity for change.
Therapeutic Interventions
Allow the patient to express feelings and perceptionsThe process of recognizing feelings that underlie and drive behaviors allows patient to start taking control of their lives.
Express hope to the patient with realistic comments about the patient’s strengths and resources.Patients may feel hopeless, but it is helpful to hear positive expression from others.
Assist the patient determine aspect of life that are under his or her control.An individual’s emotional state may interfere with problem solving. Support may be required to identify areas that are under his or her control and to have calrity about options for taking control.
Allow the patient to assume responsibility for self-care, such as setting realistic goals, scheduling activities, and making independent decisions.Helping patient set realistic goals increases feelings of control and provides satisfaction when goals are achieved, thereby decreasing feelings of hopelessness.
Aid the patient determine aspects of life events that are not within his or her ability to control. Discuss feelings related with this lack of control.The patient needs to recognize and resolve feelings related with inability to control certain life situations before acceptance can be achieved and hopefulness becomes possible.
Encourage the patient to examine spiritual supports that may provide hope.Some people find that spiritual beliefs and practices are a great source of hope.
Conduct a suicide assessment to identify the level of suicide risk.High risk will require hospitalization.
Educate the patient about crisis intervention services such as suicide hotlines and other resources.It is essential to give patients with resources for safety and support when feelings and thoughts about suicide become hard to manage.
Administer antidepressants as indicated.Suicidal thinking is a symptom of depression that is managed through proper medication.

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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