Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Final DNP Paper

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Faculty Chair

Dr. Donna Dunn, PhD, CNM, FNP-BC


Dr. Myrna Williamson, Ed.D., MSN, RN


Background: Addressing suicide in America's youth is imperative. Teachers play an essential role in identifying and intervening with adolescents experiencing psychological distress leading to suicide. Teachers and staff lack professional development addressing the identification of students in psychological distress.

Purpose: This project aimed to increase referrals to school counselors by integrating an evidence-based program for educators identifying adolescents at risk for suicide in a rural high school.

Design Method: This was a quantitative quality improvement project with a pre-/post-test design. Additionally, referrals to the school guidance counselors before implementing the program and after the completion of the program were analyzed.

Conclusion: There was a significant increase in teachers’ and staff members’ confidence in their ability to recognize when a student was exhibiting signs of psychological distress, and an increase in their ability to talk to a student in psychological distress and help those students connect with the school guidance counselors.

Implications for Nursing: This DNP project showed that implementing an evidence-based professional development program helped build teachers' and staff's skills that support early identification and intervention with students experiencing psychological distress, leading to suicide.

Keywords: Suicide, adolescents, Kognito, child, program, teacher, prevention, school, school-based, gatekeeper, evidence-based, and strategy

Included in

Nursing Commons


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