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Evidence to Improve Care

Major 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.

Search below for a guide for patients; the guide for clinicians; an information brief demonstrating why the quality standard is needed; quality improvement tools and resources; and performance indicators to help clinicians and organizations track their progress against the standard.

Quality Standards

Know what quality care looks like, based on evidence and expert consensus

Clinical guide cover for major depression

Patient Reference Guide

Patients: know what to ask for in your care

Patient reference guide cover for major depression

Recommendations for Adoption

System-wide and regional requirements to help health care professionals and organizations meet the standards

Recommendations for Adoption

Getting Started Tools to Support Health Care Professionals

A Guide for putting quality standards into practice (for best results view on Adobe Reader)

An Action Plan Template

On Quorum; a List of Tools and Resources to embed into practice

Getting Started Guide

Information Brief

Find out why a particular quality standard has been created and the data behind it

Information Brief

Indicator Guide

See the technical specifications for the indicators within the clinical guide

measurement ruler

We have prepared a summary of the public feedback we received for this quality standard. If you would like a copy of this report, please email us at

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