Healthscope invests in new therapy machine to help fight depression across the Barwon South West Region

Healthscope Pty Ltd (Healthscope) has today unveiled a second transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) machine at The Geelong Clinic to help treat depression across the Barwon South West Region.

The Geelong Clinic was one of the first hospitals in Australia to offer TMS therapy when it commissioned its first TMS machine in 2008.

Psychiatrist and director of The Geelong Clinic’s TMS unit, Associate Professor Ajeet Singh, said the main message the clinic wanted to emphasise was “lots of people do get better”. TMS is a non-invasive technique, which uses a focused magnetic field to activate specific areas of the brain, to alleviate persistent symptoms of depression.

“We were one of the first clinical services in the world to offer TMS and we still participate in international research,” Associate Professor Singh said.

“TMS works by activating part of the brain that has become underactive in serious depression. Picture it like jogging on the spot – it makes that part of the brain metabolically more active and helps regulate mood.

“We all rely on our ability to regulate our emotions and that helps us function. When people have serious depression that balance becomes out of whack and the (TMS) magnet works on restoring that balance. When primary care and medication hasn’t been effective and a patient continues to have persisting symptoms of depression, then psychiatry and TMS is another option.”

TMS is non-invasive and does not require an anaesthetic. During a TMS therapy session, a patient is seated in a comfortable chair and the TMS operator rests a magnet against a patient’s scalp near their forehead.

A session lasts 45 to 60 minutes and it usually takes 4-6 treatments to notice an initial improvement in mood in patients who are responsive to the treatment. It may take up to 20 treatments for a patient’s mood to return to normal levels.

Geelong Clinic General Manager Janine Haigh said demand for the therapy had increased steadily across the Barwon South West Region since The Geelong Clinic commissioned its first TMS machine in 2008.

“We offer this program in conjunction with our other services in the hospital with a strong emphasis on quality to ensure we provide our patients the best and safest possible care,” Ms Haigh said.

“Demand for dedicated, specialised mental health services is only going to increase and we are committed to ensuring the community has access to the care they require.”

The Geelong Clinic is a dedicated 52-bed private mental health hospital – the only facility of its kind in the Barwon South West Region – with specialty programs for a range of psychiatric conditions such as addiction, anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, mood disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders and post-traumatic stress.