Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

Depression and Suicide Prevention

Depression is a serious brain disease that, in our country, affects about 6 million people. It affects 8.9% of men and 16.5% of women and, unlike other illnesses, its incidence has been increasing in recent decades.

Patients with depression are characterised by mood, behavioural and somatic disturbances which, in 25% of cases, if not detected and treated correctly, become chronic. Depression can occur at any age, causing great disability to those who suffer from this disease. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, Major Depression is currently the world's leading cause of disability and contributes significantly to the overall global burden of disease.

It is a major health problem with a significant economic, social and also personal cost, since, for example, Major Depression is present in 70% of completed suicides. And suicides are currently the main cause of external mortality in our country, twice as many as deaths caused by traffic accidents.

The projects and results obtained by our researchers are focused on the evaluation of the impact and risk factors of depression, implementing and evaluating prevention and early detection programmes and, specifically, on suicidal behaviour. The programme has important national and international projects focused on the search for the causes of this disease, essentially by means of the study of genetics and its interaction with environmental factors, as well as the search for and evaluation of new treatments, especially in those patients who do not improve with the currently available treatments.

Lines of research

  • Analysis of suicidal behaviour and development of prevention programmes. Incidence of suicide and related factors.
  • Gene-environment interaction and risk factors in depression. Pharmacogenetic studies.
  • Neurophysiological, cellular and molecular bases of depression and the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs. Intracellular signalling targets. Neuroimaging. Molecular and phenotypic characterisation (cognition, diagnostic and functional scales, etc.).
  • New therapeutic targets. Neuroplasticity and serotonergic neurotransmission. Endocannabinoid system and antidepressant response.
  • Therapeutics of depression: clinical trials and physical therapies. Deep brain stimulation techniques and ECT in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. Clinical trials in patients and animal models. New therapeutic tools in depression and ICTs.


Main ResearcherConsortium InstitutionRegionsDetails

José Manuel Menchón Magriña

Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge-Fundación IDIBELL


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Víctor Pérez Solà

Consorci Mar Parc Salut de Barcelona


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José Luis Ayuso Mateos

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


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Analía Bortolozzi Biassoni

Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas


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Diego J. Palao Vidal

Corporación Sanitaria Parc Taulí- Fundación I3PT


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