Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

In order to improve access to an approved and evidence informed treatment option for adults with treatment resistant depression, the Foundation—thanks to generous donor support—has purchased 5 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation devices for community-based clinics in Edmonton. Repetitive Transcranial Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive procedure in which electrical activity in the brain is influenced by a rapidly changing magnetic field.

Why this Equipment is Important

In 2012 4.7% of the Canadian population over 15 years of age met the criteria for a major depressive episode in the preceding 12 months and, of these, 30%-60% of people with Major Depressive Disorder will be resistant to treatment. If we apply these numbers to Edmonton, an estimated 15-30 thousand individuals over the age of 15 are experiencing treatment-resistant depression.

Before rTMS, the only treatment option available to individuals with Treatment Resistant Depression was Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which involves causing a seizure while a person is under general anesthetic. rTMS has been shown to have the same effectiveness as ECT, but it doesn’t require anesthetic or seizures and has fewer side effects.

There are currently 2 machines operating in Alberta Hospital Edmonton, as part of the Day Hospital program, with 3 more providing treatment in downtown Edmonton at the 108 Street Mental Health Clinic.

Support from the Mental Health Foundation

TMS is universally acknowledged to be effective and a valuable addition to a treatment-providers arsenal against depression. That’s why we advocated for access in Edmonton. Thankfully, donors agreed.  Your generous support not only provided the money necessary to purchase the first TMS devices in the Edmonton region, it proved that technology geared toward alleviating mental illness is a priority. We are committed to improving access to this technology.

Brain stimulation, while proven to be effective for many individuals with treatment-resistant depression, is not a cure-all for depression, nor a treatment option for everyone. If you believe you or a loved one would benefit, please discuss this with your physician or psychiatrist, who can make recommendations based on your illness and medical history.