About the Algorithm

The Ottawa Depression Algorithm is a depression algorithm designed to be used by primary care professionals (such as family physicians and nurse practitioners) in the treatment of adult depression in your office, at point of care. It helps you assess, diagnosis and manage your patient. Should you decide to refer, it has information and links to local resources.

The Algorithm was developed by Dr. Douglas Green, Dr. Asmat Khan, Dr. Michael Cheng, and the support of many colleagues at the University of Ottawa and beyond.

Where can this algorithm be used?

This algorithm is designed for use by health care professionals anywhere in Canada.

References for the Algorithm

The algorithm is based on evidence-based practices for the treatment of depression from these references.

Looking for the old PDF version of the Algorithm?

The original version of the algorithm was a PDF file. We are no longer supporting the older version of the algorithm, however for historical purposes, the original PDF algorithm is available for download here and can be used on your desktop pdf-icon. For instructions on how to use the PDF version of the algorithm, you can view our Youtube video youtube .


Special thanks to the following:
  • Dr. Pierre Blier, University of Ottawa Department of Psychiatry, for assistance with pharmacotherapy of depression
  • Dr. Keith Dobson, University of Calgary Department of Psychology, who generously shared patient education handouts from the Calgary Clinical Pathways for Depression project.
  • Dr. Dan Bilsker, University of British Columbia, for assistance with self-managbement component of the algorithm.
  • Dr. Ken Burgess, McMaster University, for sharing his process map approach.

The following people provided advice regarding the design of the algorithm:
  • Dr. Kathy Gillis, University of Ottawa Department of Psychiatry
  • Dr. Shaun McGuire, University of Ottawa Department of Family Medicine
  • Dr. Jay Mercer, University of Ottawa Department of Family Medicine
  • Dr. Julie Beaulac, University of Ottawa Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Simon Hatcher, University of Ottawa Department of Psychiatry
  • Isaac Green, Dalhousie University

Special thanks to LucidChart.com for donating an academic license of their software for us to use.

We are developing a fully interactive, online version of the algorithm, which will be usable across desktops and mobile devices. Our hope is to launch this by 2016.


The information contained in this Depression algorithm is intended primarily for health professionals and other expert audiences.

This Depression algorithm should not be construed as medical advice or medical opinion related to any specific facts or circumstances. Patients and families are urged to consult a health care professional regarding their own situation and any specific medical questions they may have. In addition, they should seek assistance from a health care professional in interpreting this Depression algorithm and applying it in their individual case.

This Depression algorithm is designed to assist clinicians by providing an analytical framework for the evaluation and treatment of patients, and is not intended either to replace a clinician's judgment or to establish a protocol for all patients with a particular condition.

Contact us if you have any questions or feedback

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