About Us

Created in 2002, the McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS) investigates risk factors associated with suicidal behaviour and related conditions, such as major depressive disorder, using a range of different approaches and methodologies. This multidisciplinary team is unique in Canada and is one of the only programs of its kind in the world.

Why study suicide?

Suicide is among the 10 leading causes of death in most developed countries, and a major cause of death in men under 40. Suicide has long been taboo – historically, this has led to little or unclear policy surrounding suicide and reduced research in the field. Today, we understand that suicide is not a choice, but a result of disease, brought on by social, psychological, clinical, and biological factors.

Our goals

  • Understand the factors that increase the risk of suicide
  • Encourage multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • Build research capacity by providing a high-quality training environment

Research focuses

  • Biological factors (brain tissue, patient samples, cellular models)
  • Clinical factors (neuroimaging, depression scales, psychological autopsies)
  • Social factors (sociodemographic analysis, social context, ethnography/biosocial anthropology, and critical neuroscience)

Key questions investigated

  • What happens in the brains of individuals who die by suicide at the molecular, cellular and functional levels?
  • How do environmental adversity and experiences of abuse impact brain biology and increase suicide risk?
  • How do clinical, social, developmental, and personality factors influence disease progression?
  • How do access to services and types of treatment influence patient outcome?
  • What factors specific to vulnerable populations increase the risk of suicide and how can they be mitigated?