Marnin Heisel, PhD

Dr. Heisel

Associate Professor
P: 519.685.8500 ext: 75981
F: 519.667.6584


Research Cluster Membership

Research Interests

Dr. Heisel is a Clinical Psychologist whose research focuses primarily on enhancing psychological resiliency and well-being and preventing despair and suicide among older adults and other at-risk populations.  His program of research has incorporated three related streams: 1) the development and validation of assessment tools and approaches for assessing mental health and well-being variables (including meaning in life) and suicide risk factors; 2) the development, adaptation, and testing of psychological interventions designed to enhance psychological resiliency and reduce risk for suicide; 3) knowledge translation initiatives, including disseminating the best available evidence on suicide and its prevention by way of guidelines and strategic priority documents, review articles and chapters, presentations to community groups, healthcare providers, government policy-makers, and the media, and developing, disseminating, and evaluating educational training tools for frontline providers and clinicians working with at-risk populations


  • Specialized Honour's B.A. (Psychology) York University 1994
  • M.A. (Clinical Psychology) York University 1996
  • Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) York University 2001
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (Suicide Studies) University of Toronto 2002

Recent Research Grants

  • Suicide prevention in men: A cluster randomized controlled trial of smartphone assisted problem-solving therapy compared to usual care for men who present with self-harm to emergency departments (S. Hatcher and M.J. Heisel, Co-PIs; OSSU-The Ontario Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Support Unit).
  • Enhancing Psychological Resiliency in Older Men Facing Retirement: Testing a Meaning-Centered Group Intervention (M.J. Heisel, P.I.; Movember Canada Foundation).
  • The Development and Validation of the Desire to Hasten Death Scale among Older Adults (DHD-OA; M.J. Heisel, P.I.; Lawson Health Research Institute).
  • Southwestern Ontario Suicide Inquiry for Quality Improvement (P.S. Links, P.I.; M.J. Heisel, Co-I; Ontario Mental Health Foundation).
  • Summer Research Institute on Suicide Prevention: The Development of a Patient-Oriented Research Training for Researchers, Clinicians, Policy Makers, and People with Lived Experience of Suicide (S. Hatcher, P.I.; M.J. Heisel, Co-I; Canadian Institutes of Health Research).

Publications (selected)

  • Eynan, R., Shah, R., Heisel, M.J., Eden, D., Jhirad, R., & Links, P.S. (2018).  The feasibility and clinical utility of conducting a confidential inquiry into suicide in Southwestern Ontario.  Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 39, 283-293.
  • Flett, G.L., Hewitt, P.L., & Heisel, M.J. (2014).  The destructiveness of perfectionism revisited: Implications for the assessment of suicide risk and the prevention of suicide.  Review of General Psychology, 18, 156-172.
  • Heisel, M.J. (2016).  Suicide among older adults.  In M.J. Rapoport (Ed.), Geriatric psychiatry review and exam preparation guide: A case-based approach (Chapter 2.8, pp. 206-227).  University of Toronto Press.
  • Heisel, M.J., & Duberstein, P.R. (2016).  Working sensitively and effectively to reduce suicide risk among older adults.  In P.M. Kleespies (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Emergencies and Crises (Chapter 22), pp. 335-359.  Oxford University Press.
  • Heisel, M.J., Duberstein, P.R., Lyness, J.M., & Feldman, M.D. (2010).  Screening for suicide ideation among older primary care patients.  The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23, 260-269.
  • Heisel, M.J., & Flett, G.L. (2006).  The development and initial validation of the Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale.  The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14(9), 742-751.
  • Heisel, M.J., & Flett, G.L. (2016).  Does recognition of meaning in life confer resiliency to suicide ideation among community-residing older adults?: A longitudinal investigation. 
    The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24, 455-466.
  • Heisel, M.J., & Flett, G.L. (2016).  Investigating the psychometric properties of the Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale (GSIS) among community-residing older adults.  Aging & Mental Health, 20, 208-221.
  • Heisel, M.J., Neufeld, E., & Flett, G.L. (2016).  Reasons for living, meaning in life, and suicide ideation: Investigating the roles of key positive psychological factors in reducing suicide risk in community-residing older adults.  Aging & Mental Health, 20, 195-207.
  • Heisel, M.J., and the Meaning-Centered Men’s Group Project Team (Moore, S., Flett, G.L., Norman, R.M.G., Links, P.S., Eynan, R., O’Rourke, N., Sarma, S., Fairlie, P., Wilson, K., Farrell, B., Grunau, M., Olson, R., & Conn, D.; in press).  Meaning-Centered Men’s Groups: Initial findings of an intervention to enhance resiliency and reduce suicide risk in men facing retirement.  Clinical Gerontologist.
  • Heisel, M.J., Talbot, N.L., King, D.A., Tu, X.M., & Duberstein, P.R. (2015).  Adapting Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Older Adults at Risk for Suicide.  The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 87-98.
  • King, D.A., Heisel, M.J., & Lyness, J.M. (2005).  Assessment and psychological treatment of depression in terminally ill older adults.  Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12, 339-353.
  • Sinyor, M., Schaffer, A., Heisel, M.J., Picard, A., Adamson, G., Cheung, C.P., Katz, L.K., Jetly, R., & Sareen, J. (2018).  Media guidelines for reporting on suicide: 2017 update of the Canadian Psychiatric Association policy paper.  The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 63, 182-196.
  • Wadhwa, S., & Heisel, M.J. (in press).  Enhancing the assessment of resiliency to suicide ideation among older adults:  The development and initial validation of the Reasons for Living-Suicide Resiliency scale.  Clinical Gerontologist.
  • Zia, B., Heisel, M.J., Peckham, S.B., & Rosen, S. (in press).  A psychometric assessment of the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire (SBQ-5) and Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale-Screen (GSIS-Screen) in middle-aged and older men.  Clinical Gerontologist.