Despina Bolanis

Documents the impact of greenspace exposure on mental health and academic performance

Despina Bolanis received her BSc in Honours Psychology with Distinction 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 de Recherche du Québec – 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 impact of greenspace exposure on mental health and academic performance using a large population-based sample of youth with linked residential greenness. Knowledge from her PhD research will aim to provide further evidence to acknowledge the contribution of the natural the environment as a key determinant of psychosocial development. This information is necessary for policy makers and can ultimately inform urban planning decisions regarding cost-effective strategies to provide healthy growing environments for youth. Her PhD research is currently supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship (SSHRC; 2021-2024), and was previously supported by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS; partially held; 2020-2021) and Graduate Excellence Fellowship from McGill University (2019-2021).