NICE Guideline on Depression in the Elderly

Updated July 20, 2017

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation in England that offers public health information on health and wellness, including the treatment and prevention of illness. NICE has developed various sets of health-related guidelines with the help of numerous independent advisory groups of health professionals, the National Health Service (NHS), patients and the public.

People with Depression

For people with depression, the NICE clinical guidelines address the kind of care people can expect from treatment, either inpatient or outpatient, from physicians and facilities. In addition, the guidelines offer information about specific illnesses and treatments; the anticipated outcomes of treatments such as medications or other therapies, and listings of helpful services and resources available from the NHS. The materials available are helpful for those with depression, or friends and family members of those with depression.

Physicians and Caregivers

NICE also offers clinical information for physicians such as how to handle sensitive discussions about mental health; how to support the families and caregivers of those with mental illnesses and various treatment options available. Materials for physicians also include information on cultural sensitivity, effective intervention techniques and the identification of mental illness.

The Guidelines

NICE provides information for people who suffer from depression and ways they can take a proactive part in their care. For example, in “Understanding the NICE Guidelines,” patients are encouraged to ask questions of their health care providers such as “Why have I been diagnosed with depression?” and “Are there any support organisations in my area?”

The entirety of the NICE guideline CG90 covers the definitions of depression, the effects of depression on the economy and NHS’s treatment and management practices. The materials are useful for patients and physicians who treat those with mental illness. The methods section includes the scope of the problem, the assembled panel of advisers and the building of the experience by the team. Personal accounts of depression, treatment and clinical outcomes, interventions and the delivery of services are also covered by the guidelines.

The NICE guidelines on depression are available for saving or printing. Also available is the "Guide to Understanding NICE Guidance," as well as other useful information. Visit: to find these and other free downloads.

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About the Author

Sara Thompson has been a freelance writer since 1997. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and theater from Centre College and an Master of Arts in literature from the University of Louisville. Her professional freelance work ranges from human-interest pieces to hospital newsletters. She writes for Norton Healthcare, and "Today's Woman" and "Kentuckiana Healthy Woman" magazines.