Despina Bolanis received her BSc in Honours Psychology from Concordia University in 2017. During her undergraduate studies, she acquired extensive research experience working as a research assistant/coordinator with diverse populations across the lifespan, in collaboration with numerous research groups.
She then completed a MSc in Psychiatry at McGill University in 2019, under the supervision of Dr. Geoffroy, while receiving funding from the Fonds Québécois sur la recherche en santé (ranked 1st). Her master’s thesis on cannabis use, depression and suicidal ideation in youth was awarded with the Rémi Quirion Excellence Award; Graduate Excellence Fellowship in Mental Health Research; and Excellence in Research Proposal Award.
Her PhD thesis focuses on documenting the effects of nature exposure on mental health across the lifespan, using a large population-based sample of youth with linked residential greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and a clinical sample of severely depressed adults.
Knowledge from her PhD research will aim to increase our understanding of the effects of nature exposure at both the population and clinical levels. This is especially important given that there is an urgent need for research on simple, portable and free interventions aimed at alleviating symptoms of mental health problems.
Her PhD research is currently supported by the Graduate Excellence Fellowship; McGill University (2019-2021).