Nashville TMS- Offering effective new treatment for depression

“Seven months ago I was so depressed I wasn’t able to function. After six weeks of NeuroStar TMS Therapy, I was back to work; feeling great; I was enjoying my kids again and I had my life back.” -Craig, 38 years old

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy is a new therapy that involves no drugs and has been proven safe and effective. TMS is free of the negative side effects often associated with taking antidepressants.

Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in America

Cutting and self harm, Suicide death in America


Every 17 minutes another life is lost to suicide


Samantha Nadler, a beautiful MSSW student at University of Tennessee, first attempted suicide at age 8 or 9.  “I was stuck and I was trapped.” She really struggled with her parents’ messy divorce. Being the oldest, Samantha was in charge of taking care of her siblings. She was distraught and traumatized when her mother lost custody of all the children.

Samantha didn’t get along with her father’s wife. Samantha was completely miserable. And she self-injured. Against her will, she was sent away “to a program”. Again, “I was stuck and I was trapped.” Then her parents didn’t want her back.

 

Powerless and No Sense of Control


“I think a lot of my attempts stemmed from feeling …like I had no sense of control in my life. Part of that’s [because I was] a minor... Not having any control over what was happening to me and the help that I was getting—or the lack of help I was getting—I didn’t feel like I had a voice in that, so that left me feeling really powerless.”

At age 26, Samantha is a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. She now works as a supervisor of a Crisis Call Center and facilitates a Suicide Survivor Support Group. She is currently on the other side of her disease – as a survivor, helping others prevent suicide.

 

Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention


Only within the last few decades has a public health approach to suicide prevention emerged with good understanding of the biological and psychosocial factors that contribute to suicidal behaviors. Its five basic steps are to:

  1. clearly define the problem;

  2. identify risk and protective factors;

  3. develop and test interventions;

  4. implement interventions; and

  5. evaluate effectiveness.


The task at hand seems overwhelming. To those who dedicate their careers, even their lives, to achieving national ‘recovery’, sometimes it is overwhelming. But the U.S. ‘National Strategy’ provides the means to ensure that efforts are effective, with realistic outcomes.

 

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention


Only recently have the knowledge and tools become available to approach suicide as a preventable problem with realistic opportunities to save many lives. The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action (“NSSP” or “National Strategy”) is designed to be a catalyst for social change, with the power to transform attitudes, policies, and services. It reflects a comprehensive and integrated approach to reducing the loss and suffering from suicide and suicidal behaviors in the United States.

This public health approach to suicide prevention represents a rational and organized way to marshal prevention efforts and ensure that they are effective.

 

How Do We Publicize Suicide Prevention?


An interviewer recently asked Samantha, “What would be the best way to try to get the community at large to learn about suicide prevention? How can we implement something so that people are knowledgeable?”

Samantha readily replied, “I think some of the smaller steps, the easier steps, are providing opportunities to learn about it, like training. In Tennessee, we have conferences about suicide, specifically tailored for Tennessee and the resources that are available there…offering that to the community at a low cost or free so it’s accessible for the people who need it—QPRASIST, any kind of training.

“Most of the time, mental health professionals are the ones that go to that, but if you can, market it in a way that this is helpful for anybody, the way QPR does. This goes from the doctor to the janitor. Everyone, at some point in their life, is going to interact with someone who has thoughts of suicide. If you feel confident in handling that, even if it's just a little bit, even if you're not an expert, that makes you a better person to intervene.

“When it comes to media, if we’re gonna talk about it in a show, [we need to provide resources]. I don’t know if you watch the show Nashville. I do, because I live there and it’s interesting. They had a suicide storyline for a couple of the episodes several months ago and then, at the end of the show, they wouldn’t advertise the hotline. That’s a mistake. You can’t bring up this content and then not show that number.”

 

Guide to Engaging the Media in Suicide Prevention


Many Suicide Prevention organizations, including The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network highly recommend the 44 page “Guide to Engaging the Media in Suicide Prevention”. It offers recommendations for serving as an effective media spokesperson and how to generate media coverage to create awareness of suicide prevention.

The publication describes how to use television, radio, and print media and provides examples of press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, op-eds and more. It also gives tips for identifying appropriate media outlets, creating up-to-date media lists, and tracking your results.

 

Suicide Prevention Media Outreach Program


According to the Guide, before you can develop an effective media outreach program, you must understand the needs of the media and what the media considers news. Although it’s not the reporter’s job to sell newspapers, he or she must convince the editor that your story should be printed in their newspaper because it covers an issue that their readers care deeply about.

When suicide prevention advocates are successful in educating their local media, then on a national level, they can eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, encourage those in need to seek help, and ultimately reduce the number of lives lost to suicide.

 

With this Media Guide, how can you make a difference?


Can you forward it to an organization that might use it to their benefit?


About Nashville TMS:


In April of 2010, Dr. West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication or Depression Treatment. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

 

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their depression treatment, experiences and outcomes!


Written by: Lisa Chapman

Mental Illness Carries a Social ‘Stigma’

To Michelle Obama, “That Makes No Sense”

First Lady Michelle Obama - Zero Tolerance for Mental Illness StigmaMore Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. But because of the stigma associated with mental illness, we generally don’t talk about it. Stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses lead others to avoid living, socializing or working with, renting to, or employing people with mental illnesses. They lead to low self-esteem and hopelessness. And they deter the public from seeking and wanting to pay for care. Worst of all, they often cause people with mental illnesses to become so embarrassed or ashamed that they conceal their own symptoms—and avoid seeking the very treatment, services, and support they need and deserve.

The fact that 20% of the population is significantly affected by a mental health condition has not gone unnoticed at the White House. More than 42 million Americans experience a mental health condition that’s diagnosable, such as depression or anxiety. First Lady Michelle Obama often speaks about it, and believes that our best approach is “zero room for stigma”.

No Stigma. None. Zero.
“Mental illness should carry no stigma, especially when many mentally ill people are afraid to seek help because of how it will “look” to those around them. Mental illnesses also are often treated differently from diseases such as cancer, diabetes or asthma”, she added. “That makes no sense,” she said. “Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness. So there should be absolutely no stigma around mental health. None. Zero.”

First of its Kind – The Campaign to Change Direction
Two years ago, the White House hosted the National Conference on Mental Health to reach across the country and start changing how mental health is viewed, the first lady said. Earlier this year, she announced the result from that conference: the new Campaign to Change Direction.

Working with Give an Hour, Obama described the Campaign as a coalition of business, government and nonprofit groups, and the medical community, dedicated to raising mental health awareness and giving people tools to help others with mental health issues.

Others Join the National Conversation about the Stigma of Mental Health
Huffington Post columnist Dustin DeMoss recently reported that the portrayal of individuals with mental health issues in television leaves much to be desired. One study on the mental health stigma found that while half of the instances involving individuals with mental health issues were sympathetic, the majority of references to mental health - 63 percent - were either dismissive or negative. Other television portrayals were actively feeding into and reinforcing existing social stigma. In essence, we collectively perpetuate the stigma ourselves.

Famous People Now Talking about Depression and it’s Stigma
Many influential people continue to join the fight and help raise awareness. Ex-Senator Gordon Smith appeals to each of us to “Help us bring this issue out of the shadows of our society - because it affects one in four Americans.” Smith, now CEO of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and his wife Sharon, hope that their continued outreach will help others who have family members dealing with depression. Their son Garrett took his life in 2003, at age 22, after a long battle with depression.

Iconic actress Glenn Close proclaims loudly, “I challenge every American family to no longer whisper about mental illness behind closed doors.” Glenn’s sister Jessie once confided that, “I can’t stop thinking about killing myself,” Glenn’s reaction? She resolved to learn more about mental illness by volunteering at centers in New York. Then in 2010 Glenn started the nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind - to raise awareness.

According to Variety Magazine, “Bring Change 2 Mind aims to start a conversation. Close tapped her friend Ron Howard to direct the org’s first PSA, which stars the Oscar-nominated actress alongside Jessie, as well as other people wearing the names of their diseases on T-shirts. Since then, an estimated 1 billion have viewed online the PSAs, which have featured Wayne Brady and NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall sharing their stories. The Close sisters have used many forums to talk about their mission, from a Washington, D.C., summit to NPR to People magazine.”

What You Can Do to Help End the Stigma - Talk about Mental Illness
It can be as simple as starting a conversation around the dinner table, or a watercooler conversation with colleagues. As you step up to get others thinking about the issues, they may also challenge their circles to do the same. And that’s where it all starts. You’ll be surprised at how many individuals deal with the issues in themselves, or in people they love.

Putting a face on mental health is vital to changing the perception of the public at large. It reminds us that we are all members of the human family, and that each and every one of us has the potential to positively contribute to society. To start a community, state, or national initiative, see: “Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative” SAMHSA Pub No. SMA-4176).

Where can you start a conversation today?

For more information on this and other topics related to the treatment of depression and mental health issues, contact us at (615) 327-4877.

About Nashville TMS:
In April of 2010, Dr. Scott West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their depression treatment experiences and outcomes!

Written by: Lisa Chapman

5 Mental Health Care Myths – And the Truths You Should Know

Mental Health Care MythsUnderstanding the facts is an important step in combating the stigma often associated with mental illness. Unfortunately, there are mental health myths that persist and contribute to the stigma. Let’s shine a light on five of the most common.  

Myth 1: Mental Health issues have nothing to do with me.

Fact: Even if you don’t personally deal with depression or another mental health issue, you likely know someone who does. One in five American adults has experienced some type of mental health issue. One in 10 has experienced major depression at some point in their youth.  Statistically speaking, someone you know has been or will be diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Myth 2: Mental Health issues are a sign of weakness or other personality flaw.

Fact: There are many things that contribute to one’s mental health and none of them are character flaws. Mental health may be affected by biological factors such as genes, physical illness, injury or brain chemistry. A traumatic life experience may also trigger depression and anxiety.  

Myth 3: There’s no ‘cure’ or hope for recovery if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Fact: Recovery is defined as being able to live, work, and otherwise participate fully in the various facets of daily life. With treatment and a support system, individuals diagnosed with a mental health problem can, in fact, get better and even recover.

Myth 4: People with a mental health issue cannot handle job-related stress.

Fact:  Based on the statistics cited above, you’ve probably already worked with someone who is managing a mental health issue. You just didn’t know it. The reality is people with mental health issues are as productive as their peers.   

Myth 5: Someone I know has been diagnosed with depression, but there’s nothing I can do to help.

Fact: Individuals with a strong support system are more likely to seek treatment. Did you know that only a third of adults and one-fifth of children or teens coping with mental health issues will seek treatment? Supportive friends and family may successfully influence a person to seek the help they need.  In the same vein, a support system is a key component of treatment and recovery. If you’re willing to listen and respond respectfully, then you can make a difference.

For more information on this and other topics related to the treatment of depression and mental health issues, contact us at (615) 327-4877.

About Nashville TMS:
In April of 2010, Dr. Scott West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication. The Nashville TMS Team has treated patients from Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Missouri, New York, and Alabama.

Hear what Nashville TMS patients have to say about their depression treatment experiences and outcomes!

Written by: Lisa Chapman
Do you know someone who suffers?

‘Normal’ Depression vs ‘Clinical’ Depression. What’s the difference? Download and share this article.

Nashville TMS Patients Tell Their Stories

Watch these patients discuss their TMS treatment experiences and outcomes.

About Scott West, MD

Dr. Scott West has dedicated his professional career to helping people overcome clinical depression. He has practiced psychiatry in Nashville Tennessee since 1986, when he finished his residency in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Prior to that, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis. He is a Diplomate of The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the specialty of Psychiatry and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

More about Scott West, MD