Keeping you informed of
events, news and resources
concerning Mental Health
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2006
COMMISSIONER BETTS ATTENDS
EMERGENCY RESPONSE SUMMIT
LEADS TEAM OF PROFESSIONALS
TO ASSESS PROGRESS MADE SINCE 2005 HURRICANE
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner (TDMHSAS) Virginia Trotter
Betts lead a team of Tennessee representatives to the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) National Summit
to address the nation’s disaster behavioral health preparedness
and response building on the lessons learned from the 2005 hurricanes.
The national summit “The Spirit of Recovery: All-Hazards Behavioral
Health Preparedness and Response—Building on the Lessons of Hurricanes
Katrina, Rita, and Wilma” involved states, territories, and the
District of Columbia in the planning process and was held May 22-24, 2006
in New Orleans.
Participants interacted with their peers to review lessons from the three
major hurricanes of 2005, identified opportunities for consolidation of
the ongoing response to behavioral health issues resulting from these
events, and coordinated all-hazards preparedness efforts for future disasters.
The Tennessee team included representatives from mental health, alcohol
and drug abuse services, emergency medical services, public health, emergency
management, and community services agencies.
“Seeing New Orleans for the first time since Katrina, I now have
a better understanding of the enormity of the situation, but it is still
hard to comprehend that such devastation could happen to one of America’s
greatest cities,” stated Commissioner Betts. “The Tennessee
team can learn much from past disaster experiences to ensure our citizens
that the mistakes made with the 2005 hurricanes will not be repeated here.
Additionally, we will continue increasing Tennessee’s preparedness
to assist the needs of future evacuees should that be necessary.”
TDMHSAS, in collaboration with community hospitals and mental health centers,
provided disaster-related behavioral health services to individuals evacuating
to Tennessee from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and is currently providing
crisis counseling services to citizens impacted by the recent tornadoes
in middle and west Tennessee.
For more information, please contact TDMHSAS’s Office of Public
Information and Education at (615) 253-4812 or visit www.tn.gov/mental.