• Mental Health
  • Renown Health
  • Behavioral Health

Renown Now Offering rTMS Treatment for Major Depression

November 25, 2020

woman in doctors chair receiving tms therapy

Treatment offers patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy to treat symptoms of major depression.

Renown Health is committed to improving access to vital mental health services in northern Nevada. Today, clinical leaders at the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown announced they will offer repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy for people experiencing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) under the guidance of a Renown psychiatrist.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The disease causes people to experience sadness and helplessness, and in some cases, may prevent people from carrying out their daily routines. 

“We at Renown are proud of our national reputation as an innovator in implementing new models, technology and systems of care for our community,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President and CEO. “We are working to transform care and demonstrate value in a way that appeals to patients and helps clinicians improve outcomes and reduce costs. There is now a sufficient body of evidence to accept the analgesic and antidepressant effect of high-frequency rTMS, and we are pleased to offer this promising therapy.”

rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. It is typically used when other depression treatments haven't been effective. This treatment for depression involves delivering repetitive magnetic pulses, so it's called repetitive TMS or rTMS.

“Depression can be treated; however, for some people, medications and talking with a behavioral health expert may not be enough,” said Renown’s Division Chief of Behavioral Health, Richard A. Charlat, M.D., M.P.H. “We are pleased to offer rTMS therapy for people looking for a new way to fight depression and for whom other treatments may not have given them relief. We are committed to working closely with our patients to find the treatment that works best for them, so they can live their best lives.”

“Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation,” said Steve Shell, vice president of the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. “Combine that with the added stress and isolation many are feeling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that offering patients safe, non-drug and non-invasive treatments- as well as essential mental health and addiction services are more important than ever.”


How rTMS Works

During an rTMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the person’s scalp near their forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of the person’s brain involved in mood control and depression. It's thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression.

Though the biology of why rTMS works isn't completely understood, the stimulation appears to impact how the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood.

There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments.

On average, patients undergo rTMS treatments for four to six weeks, five days a week for about 40 minutes a day. In all cases, a patient’s doctor will determine a treatment plan that’s best for the patient. This video shows what patients can expect during rTMS therapy. 


What Does rTMS Feel Like?

rTMS therapy is an easy, in-office experience designed to be positive for patients. During treatment, people are awake, alert, and comfortably reclined in a spa-like chair. The first few treatments may cause discomfort at or near the treatment site, however, this is unlikely to last beyond the first week of treatment.1, 2 

“The effects of depression can be devastating for the people battling it, as well as for those who love them,” said Stacie Mathewson. “No matter how dark life may seem, always know, there are incredible behavioral health experts at Renown ready to support and empower you as you seek the help you deserve.” 

Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown in 2018 to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction.

Renown is working to expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and medication-assisted treatment programs to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction. The Renown team is also passionate about prevention, mental wellness and is actively working to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek the help they need.

TMS therapy is cleared by the FDA and available by prescription only. It is commonly covered by most insurance plans. Patients must be referred by a behavioral expert to seek rTMS treatment. For more information and to make a patient referral, please call the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at 775-982-5318.


About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Health, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®.



  1. Trivedi MH, et al. (2006). Evaluation of Outcomes with Citalopram for Depression Using Measurement-Based Care in STAR*D Implications for Clinical Practice. Am J Psychiatry, 163(1):28-40
  2. Rush AJ, et. al. (2006) Acute and longer-term outcomes in depressed outpatients requiring one or several
    treatment steps: a STAR*D report. Am J Psychiatry, 163(11):1905-1917.

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