Date of Award

Spring 5-28-2022

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Michael Terry, DNP, FNP, PMHNP


Background: Adolescents from low-income status experience more prevalent thoughts of suicide than their financially secure peers. Nearly 15% considered taking their own life. Suicidal ideation among adolescents in California ranges from 4% to 67%. Depression and suicidal thoughts are underdiagnosed among adolescents, with higher disparities among minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Purpose: This project involved consistent screening of high-risk adolescents for potential depression and suicidal ideation using a patient health questionnaire recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force screening.

Process: This project involved adolescents 12–18 years old who had visited a federally qualified healthcare center in San Bernardino, California. The project educated staff about depression and suicidal ideation recommendation screening for adolescents. The project involved collecting screening data pre-intervention from October 2020 to December 2020 and post-intervention from July 2021 to September 2021.

Outcome: The pre-intervention screening form utilization was 37.5%, and there were six emergency room visits or hospitalizations in 2020. After implementing the project, screening form utilization increased to 100%, and no suicidal ideation emergency room visits or hospitalizations in 2021.

Conclusion: Early detection of depressive symptoms is vital in providing early treatment and prevention of suicide.

Implications for Clinical Practice: Utilizing a screening form at every patient visit will detect early depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. It will prevent hospitalization, reduce malpractice liability, increase referral to the behavioral health department, increase revenue, and improve organization regulatory compliance guidelines.