The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services joins in celebration with Tennesseans who strive every day to overcome their behavioral health conditions, with the goal of living a life of purpose in recovery from their mental health and substance use.


“We celebrate these individuals for taking steps to overcome a substance use or mental health issue,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “This is what Recovery Month is all about. And it’s our ongoing mission to inform, serve, and to help make available the treatment resources to help all Tennesseans reclaim their lives from the grip of an addition or mental illness. Our goal every day is to help people recover and live a healthy life of purpose and limitless possibilities.”

Learn more about Tennessee’s mental health services


A 2015 survey among Tennesseans reveals roughly half a million adults and young people have a dependence on prescription pain medications and other illicit drugs, such as marijuana, and alcohol. Fortunately, many chose to seek help for their addiction through residential treatment facilities, halfway houses, and intensive outpatient services. Additionally, more than one million adults reported living with a mental illness, received treatment or services through Tennessee’s network of hospitals, crisis services and community providers.


“Mental health and substance use disorders do not discriminate,” said Commissioner Varney. “It can affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. The good news is help is available. With effective treatment, recovery is possible, both physically and emotionally, with the support of a welcoming community of providers.”

Learn more about Tennessee’s substance abuse services


In many instances people with substance use and mental health issues feel isolated and trapped by their condition. Recovery Month represents an opportunity for families and communities to help Tennesseans who are struggling by offering them hope and helping spread the message that recovery works.


“We often see individuals with a mental health disorder engage in substance abuse as a means of managing their illness,” said Commissioner Varney. “The more we can create environments and relationships that promote acceptance, the more opportunity there is for people to seek and receive the help and treatment to begin their own recovery. Offering support to those experiencing mental and/or substance use disorders can make a huge difference. We can all make a difference.”


Quick and Easy online behavioral health screening


In order to offer support, it’s critical that family members, friends and loved ones have the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment, and recovery. Too many people are still unaware that prevention and treatment work, and that mental illness and/or substance use disorders can be effectively treated, just like other health problems.


“I urge Tennesseans in all communities to join a Recovery Month event in their area, learn more about Tennessee’s mental health and substance abuse services, and join with us in  observance of this month’s celebration, to help stem the incidence of mental and/or substance use disorders,“ said Commissioner Varney. “Together we can help others realize the promise of recovery and give families the right support to help their loved ones.”


View a list of Recovery Month events in Tennessee


If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, confidential help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or 855-274-747. For information and guidance on talking with a loved one who may be abusing drugs or to find substance use treatment resources across the state, call the Tennessee REDLINE anytime at 1-800-889-9789.