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How Eskenazi Health uses technology to battle depression

How Eskenazi Health uses technology to battle depression

INDIANAPOLS (WISH) — Eskenazi Health is helping Hoosiers with their mental health through technology.

Dr. Adeel Ansari, a psychiatrist at the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, said, “The need for accessing and getting good help, mental help is critical,”

The numbers are staggering.

According to The Kaiser Family Foundation, in February 2023, 32.9% of adults in Indiana reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, compared to 32.3% of adults in the nation.

“If we hyperfocus on Indiana, there are about 1.2 million individuals, adults, that are suffering from mental illness at any given point in time, and that is a huge number,” Ansari said.

He says people should not feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. “Mental illness is more hidden. It is more cryptic, and that in itself is a very big challenge. The other thing is about the awareness. Whether people can identify they feel down, they feel low, they feel like crying, but they don’t understand that could all just be depression.”

He says, for some people, medication isn’t enough to eliminate depression.

To help, Eskenazi Health uses a non-invasive therapy called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS.

“It’s a very exciting time to be doing TMS and to be offering it as a modality to treat and we’ve had great success in treating our patients already,” Ansari said.

According to Ansari, TMS treats depression by using magnetic pulses.

He said, “It focuses magnetic field and waves specifically in an area of that brain that we believe deals with depression and that is what it targets and how it targets is that it is painless. It is without any major side effects and it is safe.”

He says it’s a step forward for mental health care.

“It is amazing, I think, the fact that this machine can do so many things and not just treat major depressive disorder; hopefully, even more.”

The doctor also says it’s important to speak up about personal mental health struggles.