Characterizing suicidal ideation in treatment-resistant depression using neuroimaging

This study is interested in using brain imaging to understand brain changes associated with depression in people with and without suicidal thoughts. Researching potential risk factors will help us establish more accurate and detailed risk profiles. The study will be conducted at The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research and involves three separate visits: a screening visit, study visit and a consultation with treatment recommendations provided.

Age range 

18-65 years old, inclusive


Male and Female

Individuals are eligible if they

  • Have a primary Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder;
  • Have a current depressive episode that has lasted at least 6 months;
  • Have any level of suicidal ideation (from no suicidal ideation to active suicidal thoughts);
  • Are treatment-resistant, as defined by the research protocol;
  • Are MRI compatible (e.g. no metal implants, no significant head trauma, no claustrophobia)

Individuals are not eligible if they

  • Have a diagnosis of comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders;
  • Have a diagnosis of substance-related abuse in the past 6 months or a lifetime diagnosis of substance dependence (excluding caffeine or nicotine);
  • Have received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), intravenous or intranasal ketamine administration in the 6 weeks preceding study enrolment;
  • Have a positive pregnancy test and/or a positive urine toxicology screen for drug use

Other inclusion/exclusion criteria may apply.  Eligibility will be determined at the screening visit.


The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research, affiliated with the University of Ottawa
Mood Disorders Research Unit
1145 Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON

Recruitment Via

  • Internal referral (e.g., waitlists and referrals through the inpatient and outpatient Mood Disorders Clinics, and the Consultation Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre)
  • External physician referral (e.g., community psychiatrist, family doctor)

Principal Investigator   

Jennifer Phillips, Ph.D.


Jennifer Phillips, Ph.D.
+1 (613) 722-6521 ext. 6917

*This study is actively recruiting participants