How You Can Help Bring out the Benefits of Brain Stimulation
What happens when medication or psychotherapy prove to be ineffective for those with mental illnesses such as depression? One impressive treatment being used at CAMH is rTMS (or Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic impulses to stimulate centres of the brain associated with depression, providing benefits to clients without some of the side effects of other interventions.
Up until now, rTMS has only been available to those fortunate enough to participate in research studies. People like Fahad, Jane and Gail, who have shared their stories of recovery. With your help, this may be about to change.
CAMH has submitted an application to Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) to have rTMS recognized for public funding. Through review of evidence-based analysis, the efficacy and safety of rTMS treatments for those with treatment-resistant depression is being considered. The process includes a public consultation, and comments in support of the intervention are required from members of the public. You can read more about the public consultation here.
rTMS is recognized as one of the most important advances in psychiatry in decades, in particular because of its effectiveness in addressing treatment-resistant depression without the side effects often experienced with Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT. rTMS has the potential to significantly improve the lives of the 30-50% of Ontarians with depression who do not respond to medications and/or psychotherapy. But bringing these kinds of therapies to widespread use can be a challenging, multi-tiered process.
How you can help
While CAMH enthusiastically supports OHTAC’s recommendation that rTMS be publicly funded, part of their recommendations stipulate that access to rTMS be should be offered to patients only when electroconvulsive therapy has failed or is contraindicated. Our clinicians don’t believe that people should have to try ECT first. They think that rTMS should be available to patients with treatment-resistant depression when ECT is contraindicated or when the patient refuses to provide consent to ECT delivery.
This is where we need your help. If you would like to support the availability of rTMS, or if someone you know has had any experience with rTMS, please submit a comment via email to OHTAC_Comments@hqontario.ca before November 25, 2015 in support of the application for public funding of rTMS.
Please share this message, and help make rTMS treatments a possibility in Ontario for those with limited options for treatment.