Date of Degree


Document Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Dianne Lavin


Ora Schwope



Background: Up to 25 % of adult women are diagnosed with postpartum depression. This diagnosis may also lead to poor health outcomes for the mother and the infant. Four out of five women with a positive screening for postpartum depression do not receive care from a mental health provider.

Purpose: The purpose of the project was to improve postpartum depression screening and follow-up care to mental health services in a clinic providing obstetrical and gynecological care in the central Texas area.

Objectives: The primary objective of the project was to increase postpartum depression screening rates. The second objective was to improve postpartum depression treatment referral rates to mental health services.

Planned Interventions: Key activities included educating the clinic staff on the importance of screening for postpartum depression and implementation of screening and referral of patients with a positive screen on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Patients with a score of 10 or greater on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were educated by the provider and referred to mental health services for follow-up.

Results: The postpartum depression screening rate increased by 15% and treatment referral rate to a mental health provider increased by 22% (p < .05).

Implications for practice: Although the practice was following the recommendations of the ACOG and USPSTF for depression screening, no formal practice policy for screening was in place. Swift identification and treatment of postpartum depression can lead to improved health care outcomes for mothers and their infants.