TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

What should I know about the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS)?

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is a government agency that provides, plans for, and promotes a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery support services for Tennesseans with mental illness and substance use issues.

Through a large network of community-based providers, the department offers crisis services, community-based mental health and substance use services, family support services, supported employment and supported education services, peer recovery services, and housing services, among many others.  The department also operates four Regional Mental Health Institutes located In Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Bolivar and contracts with three private hospitals in East Tennessee to provide inpatient psychiatric treatment. While the agency serves people of all ages, there are specific programs in place for youth and young adults who might have mental health or substance use needs.

The department also maintains a helpline: (800) 560-5767. When you’re having trouble getting mental health or substance use services, calling the helpline offers you and your family access to an advocate who will listen to your concerns and provide information about available resources in your area. If a student is experiencing a mental health emergency, call the crisis hotline, at 1 (855) 274-7471. Trained professionals are available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Common Terms/Acronyms

TDMHSAS: Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

IPS: Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression).


What should students know about the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services?

  • This agency can provide free mental health and substance abuse screenings.
  • This agency can help you get counseling or housing services if you have a mental health disability.
  • This agency can help people with mental health, substance use or co-occurring dis orders with applying for college or with finding a job.
  • If you’re having a mental health crisis, you can call a free 24/7 hotline to get help. This hotline is 1 (855) 274-7471 or text “TN” to 741-741.
  • If you need a referral to substance abuse treatment, call or text the TN REDLINE at 1 (800) 889-9789.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about services, you can contact their helpline at 1 (800) 560-5767. This helpline is available Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Central).

How can I partner with the Department of Mental Health on pre-ETS?

• Collaborate with a representative from the department on an info session for students and families on the impact of mental health on employment.
• Contact one of the department’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions for a presentation and information on preventing substance use.
• Ask a student to contact the helpline and ask about services offered. Even if a student does not have a mental health diagnosis, it’s helpful for them to understand the supports they can get.
• Provide information about Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to a student who has a mental health diagnosis (if you know this info).

How do I contact the Department of Mental Health?

For concerns or inquiry about services for yourself, a child, or family member, contact the Helpline:
(800) 560-5767
Hours: M-F 8am-4:30pm (except for state holidays)


To learn more about programs for children, young adults, and families, contact:
Keri Virgo
Director, Office of Children, Young Adults, and Families
(615) 770-0462 

Where do I find more information about the Department of Mental Health?