Mood Disorders Program

“Highs” and “lows” are part of everyone’s life. But people affected by mood disorders, like depression or bipolar disorder, experience them with greater intensity and for longer periods of time than most people.

To fulfill the MUHC Psychiatry Department mission, the Mood Disorders Program (MDP) aims to improve and preserve the mental health of patients through excellence in care, teaching and research, and collaboration with various other treating facilities.

Mission statement

The mission of the tertiary care MDP is to develop, implement and evaluate models of treatment. The program provides best care practice, prioritizes patient needs, facilitates access to services and offers timely consultation to the community. 

Guiding principles

  • Patient- and family-centered
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Partnership and collaboration with MUHC programs and the community
  • Prevention of mood disorder relapse
  • Continuity of care 

Clinical objectives

  • Multi-faceted program approach, including pharmacotherapy, individual, family and group psychotherapies, and other psychosocial and vocational interventions
  • Reduce mood disorder symptoms and increase well-being
  • Improve individual and family functioning
  • Maintain and improve quality of life
  • Encourage individuals to be actively responsible for and participate in achieving their well-being
  • Relapse prevention
  • Promote rehabilitation
  • Foster autonomy 

Academic objectives

  • Enhance education in mental health
  • Offer educational support to community resources and shared-care partners
  • Provide a teaching environment to professionals and students
  • Promote and integrate research into all aspects of the program
  • Conduct and collaborate in clinical and basic research that furthers our understanding of the determinants, risk factors, course and progression of mood disorders
  • Conduct clinical research to test novel treatment approaches and interventions

Our History

In 1977, a Mood Disorders Clinic (MDC) was set up as part of the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) Outpatient Department Services at “Birks House,” 1547 Pine Avenue West.  Numerous staff psychiatrists have been the Director of the Clinic with the collaboration of interdisciplinary team and administrative support members.

In 2006, the MGH Mood Disorders Clinic merged with the Allan Memorial Institute (AMI) and the Mood Disorders Program of the McGill University Health Centre is now located at the AMI.

The Mood Disorders Program has a world-renowned expertise in the field of psychopharmacology. We were one of the first centres to apply a translational approach in psychopharmacology, which means converting the cutting-edge preclinical research into clinical application for patients.

For example, it was the first centre to discover the potential of low doses of Lithium for the treatment of resistant depression1, the role of serotonin 5-HT1A ligands in the treatment of major depression2, and the beneficial effect of antidepressant combinations3.

1. de Montigny C. Lithium addition in treatment-resistant depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1994 Jun;9 Suppl 2:31-5.

2. Blier P, Bergeron R, de Montigny C. Selective activation of postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptors induces rapid antidepressant response. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1997 May;16 (5):333-8.

3. Blier P, Gobbi G, Turcotte JE, de Montigny C, Boucher N, Hébert C, Debonnel G. Mirtazapine and paroxetine in major depression: a comparison of monotherapy versus their combination from treatment initiation. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009 Jul; 19 (7):457-65.