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$400K budgeted for mobile TMS clinic

MARTINS FERRY — The recently approved $2.1 billion budget for the state of Ohio includes funding for a new kind of mobile clinic that aims to help veterans with mental health issues.State Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, said in a press release that $400,000 has been allotted for a mobile clinic for the Ohio Veterans Drug and TMS Treatment project.

TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is a kind of treatment for depression. The goal is to treat veterans who have mental health issues, addiction problems or both.

The clinic will travel to Carroll, Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Noble, Monroe, Washington, Athens, Meigs and Vinton counties.

Scientists also believe TMS can help veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

Hoagland on Monday said though it will take awhile to get the mobile unit started, it has the potential to help many people who meet the requirements.

He said he personally knows people who have benefited from TMS therapy. He hopes the program can be expanded to help not only veterans, but first responders with mental health issues as well.

“I think it’s a miracle,” he said. “I’ll let the doctors figure out the science. I just wanted to give it a shot.”

Hoagland noted that for one local veteran, Dirk Harkins of Adena, the treatment has been life-changing. A U.S. Army veteran, Harkins suffered a traumatic brain injury when his military vehicle struck a roadside bomb.Because his suffering was reaching a breaking point, he reached out to Hoagland, a Navy SEALs veteran, for help.

Hoagland and the Adena American Legion helped organize fundraisers that led to Harkins getting TMS treatments at a facility in Texas, according to published reports.

Meanwhile, the state’s two-year budget also includes funding for schools, infrastructure and other public services.

“I am proud of the variety of projects awarded to the 30th District and am looking forward to seeing both their local and state impact,” Hoagland said. “Community and business leaders have worked together to ensure our region of the state continues to see economic prosperity and opportunity for the hard-working people of southeast Ohio.”

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