Depression is a mood disorder in which the patient becomes so sad that it affects his daily normal functioning. Depression can affect a patient mentally, emotionally as well as physically. Usually, sad events such as loss of a loved family member, aging, and dependence on others, chronic or terminal illness are some sources of depression.

Symptoms of depression include excessive sleep, frustration, sadness and crying, loss of appetite, loss of self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.

A person experiences different stages of grieving when coping with depression:

  1. Denial: Denying the sad event such as the death of a family member
  2. Anger: Expressing anger towards all or the dying person, for leaving him/her alone
  3. Bargaining: Bargaining with god or a higher power to return the loved person or change the situation
  4. Depression: Extreme sadness and feeling unable to cope with the loss
  5. Acceptance: Ability to accept the loss and find peace, the patient finally begins to cope with the loss

If the patient is unable to cope with the sad events, he may get more and more depressed and gradually attempt suicide, or have suicidal thoughts. It is important to keep a close watch on such patients. The CNA should immediately report any signs of depression in a patient before the situation worsens.

A patient with suicidal thoughts will talk about being dead. The CNA should ensure there are no objects in the patients’ surroundings that can be used to harm themselves. For safety purposes, it is important to keep sharp objects, pipes, and wires out of the patient’s room.

The CNA should also encourage the patient to be open and communicative and socialize with others, as it can improve their state of mind.