Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

What is Depression?

Depression is a syndrome comprised of a constellation of affective, cognitive and somatic or physiological manifestations in varying severity from mild to severe (Kurlowicz & NICHE Faculty, 1997; National Institute of Health Consensus Development Panel, 1992). Depressive symptoms occur in 15 to 20 percent of community-based elders requiring clinical attention and 37 percent of elders in primary care settings.