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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners: What You Need to Know About Depression

Find out how you can earn your MSN degree and become a PMHNP helping patients with depression.

People worldwide suffer from depression, and medical professionals may routinely encounter patients with this mental health disorder. If you’re a registered nurse who wishes to earn a degree in order to become a nurse practitioner or work in nursing management, it’s important that you understand depression and how it may affect a patient’s emotional and physical health.

Nursing school students learn about the range of issues affecting patients today, including mental health issues. Find out what you need to learn about patients with depression and how online nursing schools offer great options for earning your master’s degree in nursing.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners: What You Need to Know About Depression

Understanding Depression

There are plenty of misconceptions about mental health disorders, and they can be a barrier to treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 300 million people worldwide suffering from depression, making it the leading cause of disability.1 The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder causing severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, and working.2 Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

When patients arrive at a hospital or medical facility, they often see a nurse before they see a doctor, so it’s important that nurses understand the different forms of depression and how to spot the signs. Forms of depression include persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder.

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Symptoms to look for include persistent sadness or anger, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, irritability, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, decreased interest in or pleasure from hobbies, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, difficulty sleeping, appetite or weight changes, and thoughts of death or suicide. A patient with depression may show only a few or several of these signs.

While there are effective treatment and therapy options for depression, WHO notes that fewer than half of the global population suffering from depression receives treatment. Lack of access to care providers—along with the social stigma that can come with mental health disorders—prevents many people from receiving the care they need.

Help Patients When You Earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing

A career in nursing can be a rewarding opportunity to help people who are experiencing both physical and mental health disorders. If you’re ready to pursue your nursing education and earn an advanced degree, Walden University offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialization.

Walden stands out among online nursing schools for its MSN degree specialization options, including those for aspiring nurse practitioners. Your online classes at Walden can prepare you to assess, diagnose, provide therapy for, and prescribe medications for patients with psychiatric disorders, medical organic brain disorders, and substance abuse problems.

As a mental health nurse practitioner, you can help meet the high demand for nurses specializing in psychiatric health while making a difference in the healthcare system. Earn an MSN degree while you develop advanced skills and receive practicum training for treating children, adults, groups, and families.

If you’re ready to get started helping patients with depression, find out how you can earn your Master of Science in Nursing degree with Walden.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialization online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

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