Nursing: Depression: A Major Public Health Concern

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About the Course

This course provides current, evidence-based information about depression for nurses from a variety of backgrounds.  This includes: depression as an illness; the diagnostic criteria for different depression disorders; suicidal ideation and how to intervene; genetics and the brain; bipolar illness; the mechanisms of action of antidepressants, including potential adverse events and special considerations for the use of different medications; models of depression; different treatment approaches to help patients with depression; chronic illness and depression; substance use; anxiety disorders related to depression; and depression in special populations.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Relate the impact of depression on individuals and society, the cost and causes of depression, and the effects of depression stigmatization.
  • Describe the symptoms of depressive disorders, the diagnostic categories, and the criteria for each disorder.
  • Describe suicide and the power it has on individuals, families, and friends.
  • Describe the influences of genetics and how the brain affects depression disorders.
  • Identify key signs and symptoms of the diagnosis of bipolar and related disorders.
  • Discuss the different theoretical models for explaining depression and bipolar disorders.
  • Describe the actions of psychotropic medications to treat depressive, bipolar, and related disorders.
  • Describe the treatment approaches to help patients suffering from depressive disorders or bipolar disorder.
  • Contrast chronic illness with depression.
  • Describe substance use disorders.
  • Describe anxiety disorders and their relationships to depression.
  • Describe the challenges and issues that special patient populations with depression and other mental health issues experience.

About the Author:
Reg Arthur Williams, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN

Reg Arthur Williams, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, is professor emeritus at the School of Nursing and Psychiatry, Medical School at the University of Michigan. He received his bachelor of science in nursing in 1968 and then reported to activity duty in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the Naval Hospitals in Pensacola, Florida, and St. Albans, New York. After active duty, he received his master’s degree in psychosocial nursing from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1973 and then taught at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Psychosocial Nursing. He completed his PhD in higher education in 1980 and became chair of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing at University of Michigan, where he taught undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. As a board-certified clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner in the state of Michigan, he continues to carry a small caseload of patients at the University of Michigan Depression Center, where he provides psychotherapy and medication management. He has conducted research on depression and was the principal investigator in research funded over a 15-year period by the Department of Defense, TriService Nursing Research Program, to examine stress and depression among young men and woman in military service. He has written four books and authored more than 80 journal publications.

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