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  • Sarah Waara

A statewide approach to mental health


During times of darkness and struggle, small tasks can become seemingly impossible. While medication for depression is oftentimes leaned on to help, it doesn’t always work.


That’s why Ascension Wisconsin took a new approach to treating medication-resistant depression with implementation of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Funded by donor support to Ascension Wisconsin Foundation, TMS launched in 2021 at Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus, in 2023 at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s - Milwaukee Campus and now most recently at Ascension All Saints Hospital.


“The support that we have received from Ascension Wisconsin has been instrumental in allowing us to offer TMS as a non-invasive treatment option for our patients who have not found success with medication and therapy alone,” said Tina Russell, Medical Group Operations Manager at Ascension All Saints Hospital. “The benefits to our patients are significant and have far-reaching effects to their personal and professional life.”

Since the launch of TMS at Ascension All Saints, more than 10 patients have already benefited from the treatment in a short amount of time. 


What is TMS? TMS uses repetitive magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to help with symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions. For most patients, TMS is used when other remedies have not worked. 


A difference-maker for depression: The perspective of an anonymous patient

I am 46 and have tried all counselors, therapists, you name it. I have always felt like something was wrong with me and I wanted to feel better. Nothing I did was ever enough. 


Life with this feeling has been all I know, but I always felt there has to be something different. I eat well, read a lot of self help books, meditate, have good relationships, no debt, etc. Still, no matter what I did, it didn’t change. I tried so many different medications.


When I first heard about TMS, I was interested. My providers were thoughtful, knowledgeable, positive and encouraging. After one week, I started to feel better. I didn’t believe it. Over the next six weeks, I continued to feel better. I walked around the city park and could smell the flowers and see the beauty in things and I actually felt real joy. 


I am so happy I decided to take the treatments and put in the hard work. Yes, it was tough at times, but I was determined. It is like my broken brain has been healed. I truly feel like it is a miracle!


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