Exploring novel approaches to reduce the prevalence of depression

Depression has recently become the leading cause of disability, worldwide. It affects one out of every 20 Canadians, causing significant suffering to patients and their families and costing the economy CAD$32.3 billion each year. Previous efforts to address the burden of disease caused by depression have mostly been focused on expanding access to mental health services.

Recent analyses, however, suggest that the prevalence and burden of depression has remained the same in the last two decades, in spite of the intensified efforts to improve access to mental health services. This is mainly because not enough efforts have been spent on providing treatments that are adequate, appropriate, and equitable, and also because of the lack of investments on prevention.

In my research program, I propose to:

  1. study treatment patterns that are adequate and that work for specific group of people at specific times
  2. examine complex combinations of social factors that influence access to mental health services, and
  3. identify community-based activities that promote mental wellness and resilience. The program of research has the potential to generate recommendations at the individual, health system, and community level that can be implemented to reduce the prevalence and burden of depression over time.