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Background: Depression is a leading health concern in college health. An on-campus health clinic was identified as conducting complaint-based screening. U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends standardized screening in all primary care settings.

Objective: To implement a quality improvement project for standardized screening and referral of depressive symptoms and identify factors related to mentoring program interest in a college health clinic.

Methods: Demographic survey and Patient Health Questionnaire-2 were distributed to students who met inclusion criteria. Positive screens received further intervention with Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and immediate evaluation, encouragement of follow-up, or educational handout.

Results: Of students receiving primary care services at a college health center, 221 completed demographic surveys, 165 completed the PHQ-2, and 8 students received interventions for positive screens. Furthermore, 74.6% of students expressed interest in a mentoring program. Conclusions: The project demonstrates ease of standardized screening in the college health setting without excessive burden to staff or budget. This is a critical preventative care measure for improving early detection and management of depression at college health centers.

Implications: Initiation of standardized screening on college campuses is a worthwhile investment and should be implemented by registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice nurses. Support program initiation should be considered to help students with unmanaged symptoms.


Originally published as:

Slabaugh, K., Harris, S., & Wilcock, S. (2018). Initiation of standardized depression screening in college health: A quality improvement project. Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 11(2), 143–150.