Book Launch: Curing Stubborn Depression

Date & time: 6.30–7.30pm 6 March 2024
Location: ANU Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS)  146 Ellery Crescent Acton, ACT 2601 - View in map
Speakers: Professor Paul Fitzgerald, Dr Rodney Blanch, and Mr Neil Cole
Cost: $0 per person
Book launch: A conversation with Professor Paul Fitzgerald

Book launch: A conversation with Professor Paul Fitzgerald

In his newly launched book – Curing Stubborn Depression - Professor Paul Fitzgerald brings his 20 years of experience in psychiatry to dispel the myths surrounding depression and its care, and delves into the emerging range of new treatments transforming the management of persistent depression.

Depression is a complex condition that can result in treatment resistance over time, where standard treatments no longer produce the results they once did for patients. But, there is hope.

Non-traditional and novel treatments are rapidly evolving to keep symptoms at bay offering an improved quality of life and an increased chance of recovery.

Professor Paul Fitzgerald, Dr Rodney Blanch and Mr Neil Cole, will discuss the research findings outlined in the book around the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, brain stimulation, bright light therapy, and psychedelic therapies – indicating a much brighter future for patients with depression.

Also joining the speakers panel will be two consumers who have been through treatment for depression – one involving esketamine treatment, the other TMS treatment. They will share their experience and outcomes.

About the speakers

About Professor Paul Fitzgerald, MBBS, MPM PhD, FRANZCP

Paul Fitzgerald is the Head of the School of Medicine and Psychology at the Australian National University. He is a qualified psychiatrist, has a MBBS degree, Masters of Psychological Medicine and research PhD from Monash University.

He has conducted an extensive range of more than 20 clinical trials, especially focussed on the development of novel brain stimulation treatment options including repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for patients with depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, autism and Alzheimer's disease. He has had continual NHMRC grant support for over 20 years and over $10 million in research support in the last 5 years. He has published several books, over 500 journal articles and been cited over 20,000 times.

He has established multiple clinical rTMS services, founded several device and clinical service companies and the first rTMS training program in Australia. He led a national application to the Department of Health in the Federal government which resulted, in 2021, in Medicare funding ($283 million in year 1) of rTMS therapy for patients with depression.

About Dr Rodney Blanch, MBBS, BS (Hons), PhD, FRANZCP

Dr Blanch’s passions lie in the field of general adult psychiatry. His areas of interest include Veterans and first responders mental health, PTSD, depressive Illnesses, mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse, rural and remote medicine.

He is currently the Director and a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Murrumbateman Specialist Centre. He is also the Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist at Hyson Green Mental Health, Calvary Bruce Private Hospital. Outside of private practice he is actively involved in a variety of areas regarding mental health.

Graduating from the ANU Medical School in 2007, Dr Blanch has an Advanced Certificate of Adult Psychiatry from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and is currently an ACT RANZCP Co-opted Rural Branch representative member as well as a Rural Section representative.

About Mr Neil Cole

Neil Cole was the first politician in Australia to publicly admit to having a mental illness namely bipolar mood disorder. He has worked as a consumer consultant, lived experience worker, and advocate for the mentally ill since 1999. He was on the National Advisory Committee on Mental Health from 2008-2011.

He set up the Flemington Kensington Legal Service in 1980.

Neil Cole was a lawyer, a Melbourne City Councilor and a Member of the Victorian Parliament for eleven years. In the 1990s, he was the Victorian Shadow Attorney-General.

Neil is based at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health where he has been since 2008 working with Prof. Colin Masters on raising money, awareness and supporting research into Alzheimer’s disease. His major research work is the link between creativity and mental illness. He has produced and written “Into the Limelight” a creative project making videos with people who have Schizophrenia for over twenty years.

He has had 35 plays produced in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Chicago and three times at the Edinburgh Festival. His plays “Alive at Williamstown Pier”, “The Campaign”, “Personality Games” which he co-wrote with Prof. Gordon Parker from the Black Dog Institute in Sydney, and “The Trial of Adolf Eichmann”. Neil has written five plays about the Holocaust.

He won the Griffin Theatre Award for the best new writing for theatre in 1999 and was short -listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2001. He won the Aspire Award from the Supreme Court of Victoria for his work on psychiatry in the theatre.

He has written two books “Colonel Surry’s Insanity” and his memoir “Stability in Mind”, He has just finished and to be launched this April “Trials and Tribulations in Community Law” a non-fiction novel about Neil's first two years at the Flemington Legal Service.

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