Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services

Suicides Claim Too Many in Tennessee; Resources Available Statewide to Help Save Lives

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 09:56 am

Suicide Tenth Leading Cause of Death in Tennessee, U.S. & Internationally

NASHVILLE – In 2013, intentional self-harm was the tenth leading cause of death in Tennessee, a ranking that mirrors U.S. and international cause of death rankings. According to data from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Vital Records office, a total of 1,017 people in Tennessee committed suicide that year. Statistics point out disparities in Tennessee’s diverse population and the need to understand suicide warning signs and the actions required to prevent loss of life.

Tennessee Teenagers Join National Drug Facts Week

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 | 03:45 pm

NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is encouraging teenagers, educators and parents across the state to participate in National Drug Facts Week Monday, January 26 through Sunday, February 1. It’s an opportunity for teenagers to promote and participate in activities to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse.


“Many of our teenagers in Tennessee experiment with drugs and aren’t aware of the risks,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illicit drug sometime in the past year, and more than ten percent report using a narcotic painkiller. National Drug Facts Week is an opportunity for them to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction.”

Help for Tennesseeans Coping With Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | 02:11 pm

NASHVILLE –Based on national estimates, thousands of Tennesseans struggle through the cold and dreary winter season with feelings of prolonged sadness. For an estimated 4 to 6 percent of the population, winter brings about periods of fatigue and in some cases anxiety known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD).

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) recognizes SAD as a mood disorder that follows a pattern related to seasonal variations in sunlight.

“We all go through periods of feeling down,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner TDMHSAS. “SAD is something more serious than the occasional blues and can lead some people into periods of deep depression due in part to fewer hours of daylight in the winter months.”

Tennessee's Recovery Courts to Expand

Monday, December 15, 2014 | 01:21 pm

NASHVILLE – Hundreds more Tennesseans caught in a cycle of drug use and crime will have the chance to pursue treatment over prison with the help of new federal grant funds coming to the state.


The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) with support from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDC) has been awarded nearly $1 million to expand the Morgan County Statewide Recovery Court and 28 participating county courts across the state.


The $1 million federal grant will support 60 individuals a year, allowing for a total of 180 men to receive services during the 3-year grant cycle. The referrals to the program will come primarily from felony recovery courts in Tennessee seeking more intensive services for their male defendants.

Western Mental Health Institute Named Top Performer for Outstanding Quality and Service

Monday, December 01, 2014 | 02:11 pm

NASHVILLE – Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, Tennessee has been named a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the leading accrediting body for health care organizations in the United States. The recognition is based on the staff’s ability to achieve excellence in clinical practices that improve the quality of behavioral health services offered to patients.


“It’s with great pride that I extend congratulations and thanks to our dedicated professionals at Western Mental Health Institute for their commitment to excellence,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS). “It’s reassuring to know that our patients and their loved ones can count on us to provide the very best in personalized behavioral health diagnosis and treatment.”

Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute Named Top Performer for Outstanding Quality and Service

Monday, December 01, 2014 | 02:05 pm

NASHVILLE – Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville has been named a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the leading accrediting body for health care organizations in the United States. The recognition is based on the staff’s ability to achieve excellence in clinical practices that improve the quality of behavioral health services offered to patients.


“It’s no surprise that the professionals at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute would be recognized for their commitment to excellence,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS). “We are working very hard to ensure the best care at our state mental health institutes, and the latest findings by The Joint Commission demonstrate that fact."

Help for Tennessee Youth Abusing Prescription Drugs

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 03:37 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is teaming up with community anti-drug coalitions across a 10-county region of East Tennessee in an effort to reduce the number of young people who are abusing prescription drugs.


To help achieve this goal, TDMHSAS has secured nearly $7 million dollars in federal grant funds to engage with young people through public awareness campaigns and community-based prevention and enforcement efforts over a five-year period.


“Our objective is to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs by the 12 to 25 year old age group by more than four percent,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner, TDMHSAS. “If we’re successful, that will add up to thousands of young lives saved from disastrous consequences. We owe it to them, their families, and communities to do all we can.”

Supporting Survivors of Suicide in Tennessee

Monday, November 17, 2014 | 04:17 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) joins with survivors of suicide throughout the State of Tennessee and worldwide in recognition of the 2014 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.


“We have lost so many to suicide, too many,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “Most notably this year was the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, which has resulted in a tremendous amount of attention and awareness.”


Events in Tennessee to Focus on Grief and Recovery

Tennessee Offering More Resources to Pregnant Women

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | 02:02 pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s prescription drug abuse epidemic is harming a generation of unborn and newborn infants across the state. In 2012, more than 42 percent of pregnant women served by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) listed prescription pain medicine as their primary substance of abuse. That is more than double the national average of approximately 18 percent.

“We want pregnant women struggling with addiction to know that they have access to dedicated community agencies that offer treatment for expectant mothers,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner.

Hundreds More to be Served in Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court

Thursday, November 06, 2014 | 10:37 am

NASHVILLE – Through a $1.5 million federal grant, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is providing increased funding to Veterans courts in Shelby County, Montgomery County and Davidson County. The result is an expansion of services, over a three-year period, giving hundreds more service members in Tennessee the option of pursuing treatment and recovery programs rather than incarceration.

Tennessee’s Veterans Treatment Court, which helps service members and Veterans who come into the criminal justice system, will be assisting 263 more Veterans over the next three years.