TDMH provides funding to the Tennessee Mental Health Consumers' Organization (TMHCA), NAMI, and Frontier Health to support their consumer/family support activities. A primary mission of these organizations is to develop grassroots support for mental health consumers. Each organization accomplishes this by offering emotional support, education, and information to their constituents through peer support. This effort helps reduce stigma and also promotes mental health advocacy, wellness, and recovery. The end result is an educated and informed family and consumer movement.
TMHCA receives funding to support their infrastructure and advocacy activities. Their statewide office, located in Nashville, includes an executive director and office staff. TMHCA has hired consumer advocates on a regional basis to provide education and advocacy in each of the seven regions. The TMHCA program serves adults who are diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders.
NAMI Tennessee receives funding to support infrastructure, affiliate support groups, the With Hope in Mind family education program, and other education and anti-stigma programs. Located in Nashville, their statewide office includes an executive director and office staff. Regional staff are located across the state. Thirty six (36) local NAMI affiliates provide education, support, and advocacy in their local communities from Memphis to Mountain City. NAMI serves persons diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders, their family members, friends, service providers and communities.
Frontier Health’s grant funds consumer support groups. Consumers who attend one of three peer support centers, staff the Frontier Health program. This program serves adults who are diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders.
A better-educated and informed family and consumer movement have helped to empower families and consumers statewide. This has had an impact both on a personal and system level. On a personal level, educated families and consumers are better able to make sound treatment and personal choices. Peer-support-related activities improve the participants’ daily functioning and increase the participants’ illness management. On a system level, empowered families and consumers have significantly contributed to positive changes in the mental health system over the past 20 years. For example, NAMI’sWith Hope in Mind family education program empowers family members through psycho-education and peer support. It assists family members in understanding symptoms of mental illness, understanding how to better help their family member with recovery, and by reducing overall stress on the family.