Depression Screening and Treatment Toolkit

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About 1.45 million individuals in Wisconsin, or 18.75%, have some mental or behavioral health issues, and the percentage of major depressive episodes for adults aged 18 and over is 6.56%.1,2 The economic impact of poor mental health in Wisconsin adds up to $9 billion annually, with depression alone costing Wisconsin $800 million annually.1 The mental health disorder treatment gap in Wisconsin is 49%, which equals roughly 441,378 individuals annually not receiving the care they need.2  Increasing primary-care based depression services has been demonstrated to increase health care capacity to care for patients with depression and to result in improved health outcomes.3

Intended Users of this Toolkit

This toolkit is intended for use by healthcare administrators and providers in a primary care setting serving adult populations. It is intended to help healthcare providers to manage patients with depression in primary care, thereby decreasing unnecessary referrals to behavioral health specialists.

Contents within this Toolkit

This toolkit is a practical, usable tool for quick referencing and adoption. Two workflows are contained in the toolkit; one for clinical providers with step-by-step instructions on depression screening and treatment options and one for administrative staff related to special operational considerations for the implementation, documentation and tracking of depression screening. There is also a robust addendum with tools that supplement the workflows such as medication augmentation strategies, behavioral health billing codes, a suicide ideation policy, and patient health screeners. To help with quick referencing, the Table of Contents includes a ‘Print’ button next to each tool for easy viewing, downloading and printing. 

Development of this Toolkit

WCHQ wishes to thank its Behavioral Health Steering Team for guiding the development of the Depression Screening and Treatment Toolkit. The steering team brings together clinical, quality, and operational leaders from WCHQ member organizations – which includes health systems, medical groups, and clinics that collectively represent approximately 65% of Wisconsin primary care physicians – in partnership with subject matter experts and other key stakeholders. 


  1. Cruz, J. K. (2018). Combatting the Psychiatrist Shortage: Policy Recommendations for Increasing the Psychiatry Workforce and Access to Mental Health Services. Madison, WI.
  2. Wisconsin Department of Health Services (2018). 2017 Wisconsin Mental Health and Substance Use Needs Assessment. Division of Care and Treatment Services. Madison, Wisconsin. Retrieved November 22, 2019 from:
  3. Jabbarpour, Y., Greiner, A., Jetty, A., Coffman, M., Jose, C., Petterson, S., Pivaral, K., Phillips, R., Bazemore, A., & Neumann Kane, A. (2019). Investing in Primary Care: A State-Level Analysis. Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative. Robert Graham Center. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from:

Toolkit Citation

Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality. Depression Screening and Treatment Toolkit. WCHQ; 2020. Available at:

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About the Authors

WCHQ logo
The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) is a voluntary, non-profit consortium of organizations committed to using the public reporting of comparative measures of performance to catalyze improvements in the quality and affordability of healthcare in our state, and the health status of individuals and communities. 

WCHQ designs and facilitates collaborative learning activities to promote the sharing of “best practices” among healthcare provider organizations in an effort to elevate and accelerate improvement across Wisconsin.