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

Deficient Knowledge

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Unfamiliarity with the causes, signs and symptoms, and management of depression

Possibly evidenced by

  • Verbalizing inaccurate information
  • Inaccurate follow-through of instruction
  • Inappropriate behaviors (e.g., agitated, apathetic, hysterical, hostile)
  • Questioning members of health care team

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient and significant other will verbalize accurate information about at least two of the possible causes of depression, three-four of the signs and symptoms of depression, and use of medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy as treatment.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Assess the patient’s and significant other’s knowledge regarding depression and its causes.Depression is a mood disorder caused by the cumulative factors of ongoing stressful events, genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain.
Therapeutic Interventions
Explain to the patient and significant others regarding the major symptoms of depression.A major depressive episode is typically presented by the following symptoms: persistent sadness, loss of pleasure in normal activities, decreased energy, feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness, sleep disturbances, changes in apetite, trouble thinking or making decisions and frequent thoughts of death or suicidal attempts.
Inform the patient and significant others that depression can be treated through medications and psychotherapy.Common treatment for depression are the use of antidepressants. While psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy) alone is given for patients with mild depression associated with situational cause. A combination of medications and psychotherapy can relieve  severe chronic cases of depression.
Discuss the purpose of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) if indicated.Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical procedure given to patients who are unresponsive with other treatments (medications and psychotherapy). It is performed for about 6 to 12 sessions over 3 to 6 weeks. The doctor will place two electrodes on sides of the patient’s scalp where an electric current is passed between the electrodes until a seizure occurs. It is usually last between 30 to 60 seconds.


Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy.

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.
  • >