Brain Stimulation for Depression


When someone has been treated for depression, but their symptoms don’t improve, they may have treatment resistant depression.

Taking an antidepressant or going to psychological counseling (psychotherapy) eases depression symptoms for most people. But with treatment-resistant depression, standard treatments aren’t enough. They may not help much at all, or their symptoms may improve, only to keep coming back.

Imagine how debilitating this must be to those who live with depression.

Not only are their symptoms ongoing, interfering with work and family life, but they also lose hope that a solution is out there to manage their illness.

Fortunately, thanks to generous donor support, there is a new option available: brain stimulation (or rTMS).

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.

Thanks to our generous community, 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

Brain stimulation 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 brain stimulation 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.