Date of Award

Fall 2021

Project Type

Clinical Doctorate



Program or Major


Degree Name


First Advisor

Cathleen Colleran

Second Advisor

Divine Chiangeh

Third Advisor

Donna Pelletier


Abstract Background: Depression is a serious mental health challenge in the US. As frontline workers who are responsible for taking care of a myriad of patients daily, health workers are usually exposed to depressive situations which eventually results in them developing the mental health condition. The purpose of the current project was, therefore, to develop an intervention which helps to improve employee mental health in healthcare settings with focus on depression and examine workplace factors which influence depression among employees of the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Washington District of Columbia. Methods: A pre-intervention survey was conducted among 43 employees. The survey used the already validated Patient Health Questionnaire depression scale (PHQ-9) developed by Kroenke et al. (2009) to determine the prevalence of depression. The WHO Healthy Workplace Model developed by Burton and WHO (2010) was also adopted as the conceptual framework in designing an instrument for the workplace determinants of depression. Immediately after the baseline survey, an intervention was developed in the form of already validated depression related messages adapted from Hartnett et al. (2017) and Agyapong et al. (2017). Using text messaging and emailing platforms, a total of 8 messages were sent to employees twice weekly over a one-month period (October 2021). A post-intervention survey was conducted among the same employees included in the pre-intervention and adopting the same tools. Descriptive and inferential statistics comprising frequency, percentage, and chi-square were adopted in analyzing the data with STATA.

Results: The pre-intervention survey showed a reported feelings of depression prevalence of 30.2% among the employees. The post-intervention survey, however, showed that the prevalence of reported feelings of depression among the employees reduced to 12.6%. The surveys also Improving Employee Mental Health 2 showed that while the work environment was generally supportive towards achieving desired mental health state, the employees felt they were exposed to workplace hazards.

Conclusion: The intervention designed for this project was effective in reducing reported feelings of depression of among employees from 30.2% to just 12.6%. Given that there is a paucity of empirical literature on workplace depression among employees in hospital settings in the US, the project has been instrumental in contributing immensely to the available literature on employee mental health. For all health professionals in other facilities across the US, the intervention if implemented in such settings, will hopefully improve the levels of workplace related feelings of depression among them, and elevating their perceived supportiveness of the work environment. The overarching implication of this is a major contribution towards efforts at achieving the SDG 3.4 target of promoting mental health and wellbeing of all by the year 2030.