Date of Completion

Spring 5-12-2022

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Faculty Advisor

Eileen Stuart-Shor PhD, ANP-BC, FAHA, FAAN

Site Advisor

Cynthia Calderon, MSN, ANP-BC

Second Reader

Christopher Frazer, Psy.D, MEd


BACKGROUND: College students are at high risk for depression, and this carries a considerable burden. The American College Health Association supports depression screening on college campuses recognizing that early identification leads to better outcomes.

LOCAL PROBLEM: The project site is a public university located in New England. The college campus health center incorporates medical and counseling services. From August 2019 to December of 2019, 67% of students seen in the counseling center described depressed mood as the presenting concern. Currently there is no routine depression screening in place.

METHODS: This QI project implemented universal depression screening at the student health clinic. A two-tiered approach to universal depression screening was utilized with the PHQ-2 and PHQ-9 depression screening tools. Quantitative methods were utilized to organize and summarize the data.

RESULTS: Participants (N=96) comprised a diverse group of students with demographics that reflected the student body. Overall, 22% reported a history of depression. A total of 96 participants were screened over an 8-week period. There was a positivity rate of 27% on the PHQ-2 and a completion rate of 96% on the PHQ-9. 91% of students having a positive score were referred for follow up.

CONCLUSIONS: This project demonstrated that it is possible to introduce universal depression screening into a college health clinic using existing resources and without being time prohibitive. This project also found that the prevalence of depression among students exceeded anticipated levels reinforcing the importance of a more comprehensive approach to mental health.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //