When a person is suffering with mental health issues, like depression, OCD, or anxiety, the last thing they want to do is wait days or weeks to meet with a professional who can begin to offer them relief. Susan Mueller, CEO of Relief TMS, has worked in the mental health field for over a decade and saw the need for helping people sooner and doing it differently than it’s been done before.
“Often, if someone is calling for mental health help, they need answers that day. They need someone to empathize with them, and they need help immediately,” Mueller says. Mental health doesn’t wait until it’s convenient, so we try to get a plan in place for our patients the day they call. If we can’t help them, we don’t get off the phone until we’ve given them a name of someone who may be able to help.”
What is Relief TMS? It is a treatment that people suffering from mental health issues turn to when looking for something more than medication to relieve their symptoms. Relief TMS offers a non-invasive solution to depression, OCD, and other mental health diagnoses without medication, side effects, or invasive procedures.
The treatment offered by Relief TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), involves using a magnet that is placed on the head with a machine that looks similar to an old-fashioned hairdryer. Treatments typically last 20 minutes and patients sit comfortably in a chair while engaging in conversation, reading, or meditating. This treatment has distinct advantages over more traditional approaches.
Patients do not deal with the uncertainty or discomfort of systemic side effects. As there is no anesthesia, patients are able to go about their normal activities even on days of treatment.
It is clear that there has been an uptick in mental health needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Some patients, stable for years, are all of a sudden facing relapses due to COVID related stressors, social isolation being one of the major contributors. Others may develop entirely new
illnesses,” says Dr. Teresa Poprawski, Chief Medical Officer at Relief TMS. “Although unintended, consequences of lockdowns, meant to avoid contracting COVID-19, are creating shockwaves that will be felt for a long time in terms of mental health. People who do contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus may suffer long-term neuropsychiatric problems,” she explains.
Relief TMS has four facilities across Chicago, including Northbrook, St. Charles, Oak Brook, and Chicago. They offer psychotherapy services in addition to TMS and will be offering Spravato, for treatment-resistant depression this year. TMS is covered by most major insurance plans. Many of their patients come from referrals within the mental health community. Others come from friends or relatives of patients. “Those are the best referrals, obviously because when somebody has a good experience and they refer somebody to you, we know we are doing meaningful work,” Mueller says.
“Our patients and our staff become very much like family,” Mueller says. “In a lot of cases, we get to save their lives. There is this connection that forms between our staff and our patients. We become part of their daily lives and it is really kind of beautiful to watch what happens as someone gets better. Somebody can come to us at a really low point in their life and then they start doing things they weren’t before. They’re going to work. They’ve looked for a job. Maybe they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, or maybe they’re just doing their laundry. That’s a big accomplishment for some people.”
Relief TMS is located at 899 Skokie Boulevard, Suite 260 in Northbrook, 630-974-6602, relieftms.com.