Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Anita Greer

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Lakenya Forthner

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice


The Advanced Practice Nurse is responsible for providing quality care and treatment for the whole person. 3 John 1:2 KJV states, “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (King James Bible, 2023, para. 2). To prosper and be in health refers to a holistic approach in which the mind, body, and spirit of an individual is considered. Mental health care is an integral part of the holistic health approach.

Mental illness affects approximately one in five adults (52.9 million) in the United States alone (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 2022). Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of individuals suffering from mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression, has dramatically increased by upwards of 25% in the prevalence rate of these disorders (World Health Organization (WHO), 2022). Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the issue of gaps in care within mental health care. Mental health care was rated among the highest and most impacted healthcare services due to disruption in services during the COVID-19 pandemic (WHO, 2022).

The purpose of this DNP project was to incorporate a systematic depression screening utilizing the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) in a primary care facility. This implementation increased the number of mental health screenings within a primary care facility to identify individuals with mental health symptoms early and provided individuals with the appropriate mental health resources and continuity of care. Thus, the study utilized a retrospective chart review that assessed the current screening rate within the primary care facility, and the PHQ-9 was implemented within the facility as a measurement-based tool that identified patients with symptoms of depression. The results showed that the screening rate increased from 0% to 62.5%. Further, 40% of patients scored five or above on the PHQ-9 screening tool which indicated mild and moderate levels of depression. The results of this study indicated that there was a critical need to increase efforts to address depression by utilizing depression screening tools within the primary care setting.