Community Supports New Mental Health Treatment at RJH

Island Health physicians are excited to begin offering a new form of treatment for mental health patients this year thanks to the support of several generous donors. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive method which uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. The treatment has been found useful for improving symptoms of depression for patients who don’t respond well to or cannot tolerate psychiatric medications.

“Bringing rTMS treatment to Vancouver Island will help treat neuropsychiatric conditions for clients where other treatment options have not worked,” said Dr. Wei-Yi Song, Island Health rTMS Physician Lead. “Providing patients with this additional option for treatment will enhance access to mental health services, improve flow, increase quality of care and allow more personal choice of care for service users.”

The rTMS Machine was funded through the Victoria Hospitals Foundation by generous community members at a cost of $87,000. The treatment will be based at Royal Jubilee Hospital and will be used for clients in Psychiatric Emergency Services, Adult and Senior’s Mental Health In-Patient units, and a variety of Outpatient and Community Outreach units.

Because rTMS is a new and highly specialized form of treatment, providing patients with this kind of care requires intensive training and orientation for our medical teams. Back in October 2015, Bell Let’s Talk generously donated $20,000 to support physician training, enabling Island Health staff to attend world-class seminars at Harvard University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation would like to sincerely thank Bell Let’s Talk and the generous community members who supported this project. This new form of treatment will make a significant difference to mental health patients on Vancouver Island for years to come.