New hope for depression care

rTMS offers a solution for Nova Scotians living with treatment-resistant depression.

Photo: Dr. Michael Flynn is a psychiatrist at the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth. In addition to his clinical role, Dr. Flynn
directs the neuromodulation clinic – where patients are benefitting from a new treatment: rTMS



Dr. Michael Flynn, of Nova Scotia Hospital, says living with depression is like wearing the opposite of rose-coloured glasses. And when treatment doesn’t work, it can be devastating. In any given year, five per cent of Nova Scotians will experience major depressive disorder. A third of them will not respond to standard approaches, including medication. For these individuals, introducing a new treatment option, like rTMS, offers hope. People who receive rTMS treatment may experience a mild headache or tiredness afterward, but are able to return to work or carry on with their day. The treatment is in the same family as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which involves inducing a seizure in the recipient. rTMS presents a less invasive alternative, removing the need for muscle relaxants or anesthesia. The first patient was treated at the Nova Scotia Hospital’s neuromodulation clinic on April 6, 2021 – an exciting day and leap forward for mental health care in our province.

Susan Wood, a Nova Scotian who previously traveled to Toronto and paid out of pocket for rTMS treatment, was excited to learn rTMS will be offered in her home community.

I noticed a difference just four days into my treatment. Something started to lift. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was a bit of lightness – like the fog was clearing. This funding is going to give so many the opportunity to feel the best they can, and everybody deserves that. – Susan Wood