Strategic Groups

Psychosocial, Ethical and Aboriginal Health Research

Leaders: Monique Séguin, Laurence Kirmayer, Eric Racine

The focus of the RQSHA, i.e., suicidal behaviors, mood disorders and their interaction with substance disorders, do not affect all Quebecers equally. Moreover, the research that will be promoted by our network is innovative and thus will raise important ethical and societal questions.

This strategic group will support psychosocial and transcultural research, and consider ethical issues arising from the network's work.

Neurobiology of Mood Disorders, Suicide and Comorbidities

Leaders: Gabriella Gobbi, Linda Booij

The last decades have seen significant progress in our understanding of the neurobiological basis of mood and its abnormal states. Similarly, we have learned a great deal about the biological basis of suicidality and its diathesis.

Importantly, over the last few years, we have begun to learn how life events influence the brain and trigger molecular processes regulating the activity of our genome. These processes, collectively referred to as epigenetics, have allowed renewed dialogue between researchers from different disciplines and provided a theoretical framework to understand the interplay between the environment and the genome.

Early-Life Adversity, Emotional/Behavioural Regulation and Psychopathology

Leaders: Michel Boivin, Michael Meaney, Jean-Philippe Gouin

Negative life experience during early development including sexual and physical abuse as well as profound emotional neglect, are among the strongest predictors of psychiatric pathology, particularly depression, substance disorders and suicide. Such factors also influence clinical course, including early onset of illness, poor treatment response, increased comorbidity and chronic health care utilization. It is generally assumed that childhood adversity influences psychological development and induces patterns of behavioral responses, which in turn, associate with pervasive interpersonal difficulties and an enhanced reactivity to stress. These traits, in turn, increase the risk for depressive psychopathology, substance use and suicide. There is substantial theoretical and empirical research supporting the validity and strength of the association between childhood adversity and psychiatric illness. However, we are only now starting to understand how molecular mechanisms may account for such strong and long-lasting effects. How does adversity in early-life influence the risk for psychopathology over the lifespan?

Clinical Research and Innovative Treatment Interventions

Leaders: François Lesperance, Johanne Renaud, Joël Tremblay

Studies in clinical settings are very important because they allow us to assess the external validity of findings from laboratory or epidemiological studies to clinical populations. As such, one of the priorities of our Réseau will be the development in Québec of methodologically robust, translational clinical research in mood disorders, co-morbid substance disorders and suicidal behavior. To do so, we will encourage training of clinician scientists, and we will directly support the emergence of translational clinical research work that will facilitate incorporating research into a series of already available clinical platforms in Québec focusing on depression and suicidal behavior.