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Evidence to Improve Care

Major of Depression

Care for Adults and Adolescents

Click below to see a list of brief quality statements and scroll down for more information.


Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence.

See below for the quality statements and click for more detail.


Quality Statement 1: Comprehensive Assessment
People suspected to have major depression have timely access to a comprehensive assessment.


Quality Statement 2: Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention
People with major depression who are at considerable risk to themselves or others, or who show psychotic symptoms, receive immediate access to suicide risk assessment and preventive intervention.


Quality Statement 3: Shared Decision-Making
People with major depression jointly decide with clinicians on the most appropriate treatment for them, based on their values, preferences, and goals for recovery. They have access to a decision aid in a language they understand that provides information on the expected treatment effects, side effects, risks, costs, and anticipated waiting times for treatment options.


Quality Statement 4: Treatment After Initial Diagnosis
People with major depression have timely access to either antidepressant medication or evidence-based psychotherapy, based on their preference. People with severe or persistent depression are offered a combination of both treatments.


Quality Statement 5: Adjunct Therapies and Self-Management
People with major depression are advised about adjunctive therapies and self-management strategies that can complement antidepressant medication or psychotherapy


Quality Statement 6: Monitoring for Treatment Adherence and Response
People with major depression are monitored for the onset of, or an increase in, suicidal thinking following initiation of any treatment. People with major depression have a follow-up appointment with their health care provider at least every 2 weeks for at least 6 weeks or until treatment adherence and response have been achieved. After this, they have a follow-up appointment at least every 4 weeks until they enter remission.


Quality Statement 7: Optimizing, Switching, or Adding Therapies
People with major depression who are prescribed antidepressant medication are monitored for 2 weeks for the onset of effects; after this time, dosage adjustment or switching medications may be considered. People with major depression who do not respond to their antidepressant medication after 8 weeks are offered a different or additional antidepressant, psychotherapy, or a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy.


Quality Statement 8: Continuation of Antidepressant Medication
People taking antidepressant medication who enter into remission from their first episode of major depression are advised to continue their medication for at least 6 months after remission. People with recurrent episodes of major depression who are taking antidepressant medication and enter into remission are advised to continue their medication for at least 2 years after remission.


Quality Statement 9: Electroconvulsive Therapy
People with severe or treatment-resistant major depression have access to electroconvulsive therapy.


Quality Statement 10: Assessment and Treatment for Recurrent Episodes
People with major depression who have reached full remission but are experiencing symptoms of relapse have timely access to reassessment and treatment.


Quality Statement 11: Education and Support
People with major depression and their families and caregivers are offered education on major depression and information regarding community supports and crisis services.


Quality Statement 12: Transitions in Care
People with major depression who transition from one care provider to another have a documented care plan that is made available to them and their receiving provider within 7 days of the transition, with a specific timeline for follow-up. People with major depression who are discharged from acute care have a scheduled follow-up appointment with a health care provider within 7 days.

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Shared Decision-Making

People with major depression jointly decide with clinicians on the most appropriate treatment for them, based on their values, preferences, and goals for recovery. They have access to a decision aid in a language they understand that provides information on the expected treatment effects, side effects, risks, costs, and anticipated waiting times for treatment options.


People with major depression, their families (if desired), and their health care providers should make health care decisions together. Treatments are more likely to be effective when they align with people’s preferences. People should be informed of the effects, side effects, risks, and costs of all potential treatment options for their condition. A patient decision aid can help provide all this information in an accessible way.

For Patients

You should be given tools and information that help you make treatment decisions with your health care professional.


For Clinicians

Involve people with major depression in all decisions regarding their treatment. Explain the effects, side effects, risks, and costs of all potential treatment options for their condition in an understandable way and discuss how these may align with their preferences, values, and goals for recovery. Offer people with major depression and, if desired, their family or caregivers a decision aid that provides this information in a language they understand.


For Health Services

Ensure the availability of up-to-date, evidence-based decision aids for people with major depression, in a language they understand. Provide an environment that allows for conversations with patients, families, and caregivers about various treatment options.

Process Indicator

Percentage of people with major depression who report making joint decisions about their care with their health care providers

  • Denominator: total number of people with major depression who are receiving care from a health care provider
  • Numerator: number of people in the denominator who report making joint decisions about their care with their health care providers
  • Data source: local data collection

Percentage of people with major depression who have access to a decision aid while making decisions about their care with their health care providers

  • Denominator: total number of people with major depression who are receiving care from a health care provider
  • Numerator: number of people in the denominator who have access to a decision aid while making decisions about their care with their health care providers
  • Data source: local data collection
Patient decision aid

This is a tool that helps patients make decisions about their care by providing evidence-based information on the treatment options available and their effects, side effects, risks, and costs. Decision aids also help people consider their values and preferences and how these relate to their treatment choice. It is vital that decision aids be available in languages that people understand.

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