The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is receiving almost $1,000,000 from the federal government to support the mental health needs of Tennesseans living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effects of the pandemic including sickness, death, social distancing, unemployment, and other hardships have had negative mental health effects across the country and in Tennessee. In a recent poll (April 22 – May 1) conducted by East Tennessee State University, more than half of respondents reported feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge in the week before the poll. More than two in five respondents reported feeling depressed (43.4%) and lonely (42.8%).
“There are a lot of people out there, dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, and depression, who are hurting right now. We want people to know that it’s OK to not feel OK right now and that help is available, and thanks to this grant, the department and our community providers will be able to help more people,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “We are grateful to our federal partners for this funding, and the department is committed to leveraging all available resources to support the needs of Tennesseans and the community providers who serve them.”
The grant for $966,380 is through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Crisis Counseling & Training Program. The funding will provide outreach and support services in all 95 Tennessee counties. TDMHSAS staff will be working with community behavioral health agencies to deliver services.
This latest federal grant follows a previous $2,000,000 grant for COVID-19 response from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to bolster mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should call Tennessee’s Statewide Crisis Line at 855-274-7471 or text “TN” to 741-741. People who need treatment for substance use or help maintaining their recovery from addiction can receive a free and confidential referral by calling or texting the TN REDLINE at 800-889-9789 or call their insurance carrier.