Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults study

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults study

Dr Aswin Ratheesh

Five to 10 per cent of young Australians experience depression each year.[i] Depression can cause significant disruptions to young people’s schooling, work, relationships and other activities. However, current treatments for depression in young people, such as antidepressant medication or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can take weeks before we know if they’re working or not. Young people with depression or suicidal thoughts need treatments that can provide significant improvements in their symptoms quickly to minimise these disruptions.

The TDAY (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults) study aims to find out if transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can improve symptoms of depression in young people more quickly than current treatments.

TMS is administered by an electromagnetic device that sits lightly on the front left-hand-side of the head. The device is shaped like a figure eight.   

The device delivers an electromagnetic pulse that passes through the scalp and skull to stimulate brain tissue. Receiving these pulses over time has been shown to change brain activity and improve symptoms of depression in adults.

TMS is a safe and acceptable treatment. Participants will be awake during each treatment and may feel a twitching or tapping sensation where the coil of the electromagnetic device sits on their head.

What does the study involve?

Participants in the study will be allocated to one of two groups. The first group will receive a standard course of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment: one treatment per day, Monday-Friday over a four-week period. The second group will receive a course of concentrated intermittent theta burst (iTBS) treatment. This involves two treatments per day over four weeks. For the first two weeks, participants will receive treatments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For the last two weeks, participants will receive treatments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 


Participants will be reimbursed $10 per treatment session to cover the cost of travel or parking. Participants will also be reimbursed $30 per hour for non-treatment appointments, such as attending appointments before and after the treatment course.


Participants must:

•   be aged 15-25;

•   have capacity to consent to their participation;

•   be experiencing a depressive episode as determined by a psychiatrist or psychiatry trainee;

•   not be responding to antidepressants or other treatments for depression: and

•   be able to travel to Parkville to attend appointments.



Participants must be referred to the TDAY study by their doctor. If you’re interested in taking part in the study, please complete the below form and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss this process with you.



SEP v5   HREC/58852/MH-2020

[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death, Australia. cat. no. 4102.0, 2015.