Date of Award

Fall 10-12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice




Mary Ellen Roberts, DNP

Committee Member

Moira Kendra, DNP

Committee Member

Michael Peters, DO


pediatric primary care provider, school, youth, mental health, partnership, communication skills


The nation is experiencing a pediatric mental health crisis amid a shortage of pediatric mental health care providers. The Connecting and Communicating project explores a strategy pediatric primary care practitioners can employ to bridge this gap and maximize their impact on supporting youth mental health in a community.

For this project, a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner created a pilot educational video with the dual purpose of educating parents and school staff on the importance of connecting with adolescents using the proven evidence supported communication technique of validating strong emotions without judgement, and partnering with pediatric health stakeholders by requesting input on the pilot video. Validating strong emotions to strengthen relationships and promote resilience is informed by Carl Roger’s person-centered theory, Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and John Gottman’s meta-emotion philosophy.

The success of the project was measured using pre and post surveys and interviews. The survey responses and discussions indicated that creating this video was an effective way to educate individuals about a mental health topic and form local partnerships to support youth mental health. Requesting input on the pilot video led to numerous conversations with stakeholders about the need for collaboration on youth mental health initiatives. The project ignited a conversation in the community about youth mental health and led to presentations, meetings, and programs. The project identified the need for additional research on ways pediatric health stakeholders can form local partnerships on mental health initiatives and the impact of such partnerships on youth mental health outcomes.