Document Type

Project

Publication Date

4-24-2021

Keywords

COVID-19, depression, screening, mental health, telemedicine, integrated behavioral health

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges in behavioral healthcare. Americans may face anxiety surrounding the virus, economic strain, isolation, and grief, putting them at increased risk for depression symptoms. This Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) quality improvement project aimed to increase depression screening rates and utilized data from a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to identify population groups at higher risk for depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) depression screening tool, a statistical analysis determined if being tested for COVID-19 or testing positive for COVID-19 had an impact on depression symptoms. Additionally, this project identified if there was a change in behavioral health utilization at the FQHC. The results of this project found that depression symptoms did not increase during the COVID-19 pandemic in patients at the FQHC. The FQHC is successful in meeting their depression screening goal but positive depression screening was missed in visit documentation about 10% of the time. Behavioral health utilization was difficult to estimate due to a loss of providers at the FQHC. Overall, this project provided insight into the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on depression symptoms and the impact on behavioral healthcare at the FQHC.

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