Bell Let’s Talk supports mental health service for Nova Scotia Health

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The QEII Foundation has announced a gift of more than $400,000 from Bell Let’s Talk to support the introduction of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) at the Nova Scotia Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital.

rTMS is used to stimulate or inhibit nerve cells in the brain to alleviate symptoms of depression. The therapy is intended for the one-third of people with major depressive disorders who don’t respond to medication, bringing new hope to this population. The Bell Let’s Talk donation of $420,000 brings the QEII Foundation to its goal of $759,000 to launch this program in Nova Scotia.

“Mental health is something that impacts many Nova Scotians and has been top of mind even more over the last year,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “I am pleased to see the success the QEII Foundation has had in raising funds for this important program that will help so many.”

“The innovative treatment, which is minimally invasive and requires no anesthesia, has been sought after for more than 15 years,” said Dr. Michael Flynn, psychiatrist at the Nova Scotia Hospital. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generous donation from Bell Let’s Talk to the QEII Foundation. It’s allowing us to take the first step towards setting up a province-wide rTMS program for all Nova Scotians.”

Until now, rTMS has only been offered in a private clinic in Halifax. Nova Scotians will now be able to access this life-changing treatment in a public hospital and at no cost. Now more than ever, innovative and accessible mental health services are crucial. As the first hospital-based rTMS program in Atlantic Canada, the QEII Foundation is helping to introduce new treatment options that will transform care for those fighting treatment-resistant depression, PTSD and other mental health disorders.

“Bell Let’s Talk is pleased to support improved access to innovative mental health treatments in Nova Scotia. With rTMS, Nova Scotians will now have publicly funded access to the most advanced treatment available for major depressive disorders,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative. “The Bell Let’s Talk team would like to thank mental health care professionals across the province for the important work they do every day – we’re proud to partner with you in your important efforts on behalf of Nova Scotians.”

Many are familiar with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), but while it is highly effective, it also involves the use of general anesthesia and muscle relaxants. rTMS brings a new and less disruptive option for people living with depression who are not experiencing improvement with medication. It’s a leading-edge, evidence-based treatment that will improve the lives of many.

“rTMS is a treatment that we know will make a difference for many Nova Scotians living with mental illness,” said Rachel Boehm, Director, Mental Health and Addictions Program in Central Zone. “Expanding the range of evidence-based treatments to include rTMS is an exciting development for our Mental Health and Addictions Program and one we couldn’t have achieved without our partnerships with Bell Let’s Talk and the QEII Foundation.”

“Thanks to the support of Bell Let’s Talk, mental health care teams will be able to provide this life-changing treatment option to Nova Scotians in every corner of our province at no cost for the first time,” said Susan Mullin, President and CEO, QEII Foundation. “This project is just the beginning as the QEII Foundation and our donors strive to advance mental health care in Nova Scotia.”