Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Lee S. Caplan


American youth are facing a mental health crisis. Rates of depression and suicide continue to rise among all children ages 12-17. While there is considerable research on the mental health of underserved children, much less is known about the mental health status of youth from affluent communities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of community health assessment (CHA)-driven mental health interventions on the youth of affluent communities. Using a pre and post evaluation model, this study compared the frequencies of self-reported depression and suicide ideation for students in Grades 8, 10, and 12, and geographic location of the youth of affluent communities before and after implementing CHA-driven interventions. The diffusion of innovation theory guided this study and a quantitative quasiexperimental research design was used. The Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention survey provided 2,973 responses from students attending public high school during the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 school years. Acting as the control, survey responses for depression and suicide ideation from 2011, prior to CHA-driven interventions, were compared to postCHA intervention efforts in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Statistical analyses indicated that the change in self-reported frequencies of depression and suicide ideation were not statistically significant for grade level or geographic location before and after CHA-driven mental health interventions. The results of this study might help local public health agencies working in affluent communities understand how the mental health status, especially among the youth demographic, might shape the future of public health and the role of public health practitioners in promoting social change.