Uspace launches high tech mental health intervention research program

St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney

Uspace - St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney's youth mental health service, has recently launched a research program to test the effectiveness of four cutting-edge interventions which promise to enhance the existing high-quality clinical care associated with Uspace over the past decade. 

These new interventions, some of which have already been introduced into the Uspace service, include:

  1. A state-wide MRI-guided Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) outpatient service.
  2. A Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) day program.
  3. A scent-augmented Virtual Reality (VR) anti-distress intervention in inpatients.
  4. Online mental health literacy tools for both inpatients and outpatients currently being beta tested by clinical staff. 

At the launch of the research program, Uspace Medical Director Dr Gary Galambos, gave a demonstration of the new MRI-guided TMS service, which is a non-invasive antidepressant intervention using magnetic wave pulses on specific brain regions that modulate emotion. The service offers an advanced and convenient outpatient model of delivery for Uspace.

A first of its kind strategic partnership has been forged with Vision XRAY Group, a radiology network who have incorporated TMS machines into both their community radiology practices and into Uspace’s outpatient consulting rooms, allowing patients to access MRI-guided neuronavigation to identify their target brain region with precision accuracy.

Also at the launch, US-based company OVR demonstrated their latest virtual reality tools that will provide mindfulness experiences for inpatients suffering high distress during their admissions. 

The user inhales specific programmed scents whilst exploring vibrant natural settings and undertaking guided meditation. This VR experience is extra immersive due to the exclusive incorporation of olfactory stimulation technology. Our Uspace clinicians are looking forward to the prospect of trialling the device themselves to minimise their stress. 

Uspace appreciates the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation for having begun a search for donors to assist with funding for the VR package and additional TMS equipment to be used at the facility. The extra TMS equipment is to enable the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and substance addictions, as well as additional neuronavigational equipment and a robot arm to ensure young adults treated at Uspace will be able to access unprecedentedly high-tech approaches.

The plan to interconnect all these new technologies and services in unique ways is an exciting prospect for the Uspace team.

USpace is also grateful for the St Vincent’s Clinic Research Foundation’s generous funding of a part-time Research Coordinator, a new role for the mental health service.

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