Commissioner's Office

Our Department is the State’s public mental health and substance abuse authority. Our vision is to be one of the nation’s most innovative and proactive service providers for Tennesseans dealing with mental health and/or substance abuse problems. Our responsibilities include assisting individuals to secure treatment and recovery services for serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbances, and substance abuse addiction.  We also provide system planning; monitor, license, evaluate, and set policy and quality standards; collaborate with other state and community agencies; and work to educate the community about mental health and substance abuse services.

Community services are provided through contracted relationships with more than 260 not-for-profit and faith-based organizations.  Currently, we have over 750 ongoing contractual agreements.  In the last year alone, our valuable community crisis providers answered 102,829 crisis calls, which resulted in 69,957 face-to-face assessments, of which 28,821 of these individuals were uninsured.   In the 8 community run Crisis Stabilization Units there were 10,216 admissions and 17, 514 assessments conducted in the affiliated Walk in Centers. Our partners provided desperately needed mental health services to about 34,000 Tennessee children in the last year and essential mental health services through the behavioral health safety net to about 35,500 adult Tennesseans diagnosed with severe and persistent mental health issues.

Our substance abuse treatment providers served approximately 15,361 Tennesseans struggling with addiction and abuse issues through community detox, residential treatment, outpatient, and intensive outpatient services; and provided approximately 11,900 individuals with early intervention services aimed to avoid more costly substance abuse treatment.  In addition, our substance abuse prevention providers served over 7,500 youth through prevention activities for high risk individuals and groups. We currently support 34 community based anti-drug coalitions which reach out to local communities to provide needed dissemination of information and community change processes; and a higher education coalition to address issues of alcohol, other drugs and violence on 37 college campuses.

The department operates four regional mental health institutes and in FY2014 admissions were over 9,200.  Our best estimates indicate approximately 300,000 people in Tennessee receive a behavioral health service each year.