Novel Coronavirus - Information for Providers, Consumers, and Families

Last updated: 11/9/21 9:20 a.m. (CST)

A note from Commissioner Williams:

Dear Community Behavioral Health Provider, Consumer, Family and Friends,

We know that this is a very trying time and that you are doing the best you can with the information you have.  We’re with you, and we’re going to get through this together.  This situation continues to evolve quickly, and we continue to monitor it closely.  Our leadership team is conducting frequent calls with RMHI CEOs and community behavioral health providers to respond to concerns as they arise.  We are constantly examining and revising our operations to maintain safety for all of us while continuing to provide exceptional services.

In an effort to provide up-to-date information and to spread a shared sense of awareness, we are going to be posting regular updates on the COVID-19 situation both inside TDMHSAS and also more broadly in state government on this webpage.  I want to encourage all of our consumers, families, and providers to stay up to date with the latest guidance from Governor Bill Lee’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other trusted sources.  Please, follow the best practices that have been issued including avoiding gatherings, practicing social distancing, and protecting individuals in the vulnerable population.

Everything we do is with a heartfelt commitment to bring the reality of resiliency and recovery to Tennesseans with behavioral health issues.  It is an honor and privilege to serve in partnership with you, particularly during challenging times such as these.  I thank you for being at the HEART of what we do. 

My best,


General Information

If you are experiencing a mental health or psychiatric emergency, please call our Statewide Crisis Line: 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471)

If you need a referral to substance use disorder treatment or other resources, call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789

If you have issues accessing mental health or substance abuse services and it is not an emergency need, contact the TDMHSAS Office of Consumer Affairs Helpline during normal business hours: (800) 560-5767

If you are a Tennessee healthcare provider, medical worker, first responder, or educator, and you want to talk to someone about feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, or depression related to your work, please contact the Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress at 888-642-7886. Hours Available: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. (CT), 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. (ET).

If you are an older adult, and you just need to talk to someone, you can reach out to the TN Hope Line at 844-600-8262, Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm (CT) 

The Disaster Distress Helpline1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7/365 national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Are Community Behavioral Health Providers still seeing current patients/taking new patients?

Yes.  In accordance with CDC guidelines, Tennessee’s community behavioral health providers are still taking new patients and seeing current patients.  With increased flexibility around the use of technology, providers are increasing their resources and ability to provide treatment via telehealth to reduce risk of disease spread.  The department continues to hold calls every other week with community behavioral health providers to communicate the latest guidance and answer questions as they arise.  For persons who are 138 percent of Federal Poverty Level or below, Tennessee’s Behavioral Health Safety Net provides a range of essential mental health services.  Additionally, our substance abuse continuum of care provides addiction treatment services to Tennesseans with no means to pay.

I’m feeling increased stress/anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your reaction is understandable, and it’s typical for a stressful situation like this.  You are not alone - the feelings you are encountering have been documented by studies in Tennessee and across the nation.  Helpful strategies for coping include understanding the risk, staying informed, connecting with others, and finding ways to address financial stress. (See SAMHSA Tip Sheet at this link.)

My mental health needs require professional help.  I’m thinking of hurting myself or taking my life.

Please know that there is hope and there is help available for you.  Please call Tennessee’s 24/7/365 Statewide Crisis Line: 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) or text TN to 741-741 to connect to a trained counselor.

I need a referral to addiction treatment.

For Tennesseans who are uninsured, please call or text the Tennessee REDLINE 24/7 for a free, confidential referral to addiction treatment resources: 800-889-9789.  If you have TennCare, please reach out to your Managed Care Organization.  If you have private insurance, you can call the number on the back of your insurance card for more information.

What is being done to protect patients and staff at the state’s four Regional Mental Health Institutes?

Before the COVID-19 outbreak reached pandemic status, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services instituted new protocols for screening patients, staff, and visitors for symptoms of the disease.  Additionally, on March 13, 2020, the department suspended all in-person visitation at the RMHIs.  The department has been holding daily conference calls with RMHI CEOs to communicate the latest developments and respond to issues as they arise.  We have been working with TEMA to ensure continued supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and items are being used in accordance with best practices from CDC.

I want more information about mental health and substance abuse services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please see the other resources available on this webpage.  It is frequently updated with the latest guidance and information.


Emotional Support Line Adds Texting Capability
TDMHSAS and TDH Memo Regarding Executive Order no. 73
COVID-19 Vaccine Provider FAQs
TDMHSAS and TDH Memo Regarding Executive Order no. 68
COVID-19 Counseling Resources
Telehealth FAQ
Memo to Providers re: Telehealth Eligibility
TennCare Memo: HHS Extends Deadline for Medicaid, CHIP and Dental Provider Relief Funds
Tennessee Community CARES Program - COVID-19 Relief for Non-Profits
Tennessee Community CARES Program - Frequently Asked Questions
TDMHSAS Office of Licensure Virtual Inspections Information
Tennessee Poll Findings on Mental Health and COVID-19
Update on TennCare MCO Telehealth Coverage Policies
TN Dept. of Correction COVID-19 Testing Numbers
Child Care Services - Department of Human Services
Use of PPE by non-medical personnel
BHSN Temporary Program Changes (April 6, 2020)
TDMHSAS Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Employee Paid Leave Exemptions FAQ 
TDMHSAS Community Based Resources: TN Recovery Navigators, Project Lifeline Coordinators, and Faith-Based Community Coordinators
Guidance Document for Congregate Care Providers (i.e. MH and SA residential treatment, supportive living, supportive residential, etc.)
Behavioral Health Group Therapy Telehealth Services for TennCare Enrollees - COVID-19
Behavioral Health Psychosocial Rehabilitation Telehealth Services for TennCare Enrollees - COVID-19
TennCare Behavioral Health COVID-19 Telehealth Update (3.25.2020)
TN Dept. of Health Webinar for Healthcare Providers (PDF Slides), March 13, 2020
Complete Q&A Log from Provider Calls (updated 5-4-20)

We have compiled all of the questions and answers from the previous provider calls into one document for ease of navigation.  You can view the above linked PDF document and CTRL+F search specific topics if needed.

HUD Find Shelter Tool The Find Shelter Tool provides information about housing, shelter, health care, and clothing resources in communities across the country to help those in need. Optimized for mobile use, the tool provides mapping and contact information for these community resources, as well as printable posters and palm cards that can be displayed to direct people to the tool. An FAQ flyer is available.

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance
Emergency Responder Self-Care Plan: Behavioral Health Personal Protective Equipment
Application portal for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) new Phase 3 Provider Relief funding
ARC Accepting Applications for New Initiative to Address Region’s Substance Abuse Crisis
HRSA Provider Relief Fund: Medicaid and CHIP Provider Distribution
Emory University Health Equity Dashboard
The Joint Commission: COVID-19 Resources
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance
CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (HHS)

NAMI-TN Facebook Page: Live Video Chats and Other Resources
Health Resources and Services Administration: COVID-19 Uninsured Claim Portal
Grant Opportunity: FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program
TRACIE Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Information Gateway
Department of Veterans Affairs COVID Coach App
SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19 (Includes link to several upcoming and recorded webinars among other resources)
Lifeline Phone Service 
COVID-19 FAQs for SAMHSA Grant Recipients
Online Recovery Support Groups
Recommendations for Providers that employ Tennessee Recovery Navigators
AA Online Recovery Groups
NA Online Recovery Groups
SAMHSA COVID-19 Resources and Information
SAMHSA Guidance: 42 CFR Part 2, 3-19-20
HHS HIPAA Guidance, March 17, 2020: Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency
HHS HIPAA Guidance for Covered Hospitals, March 15, 2020
National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers
CDC Civilian Outreach and Community Activity (COCA) Webinar 3-17-20
SAMHSA Virtual Recovery Resources

Fiscal Resources Slides - relaxed requirements for SAM registration and validation for all applicants
Association of Government Accountants - COVID-19 Resources

TDMHSAS Communication to Crisis Services Providers  (UPDATED 8-6-20) Document contains recommendations for call triaging, mobile response, Walk-In Center, Crisis Stabilization Units, RMHI referrals, and staff and visitors.
Supporting Crisis Center Staff Tip Sheet  (From National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
Supporting Callers/Chat Visitors Tip Sheet (From National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

Department Contact Information

Full Department Contact List at this link

For agency and/or facility licensure questions, please contact

If you are a individually licensed practitioner researching your ability to provide services to persons in or out of Tennessee, you will need to speak with the licensing authority over your individual license (example: Board for Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists and Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapists). Out-of-state practitioners should speak with their state’s licensing authority and Tennessee’s equivalent licensing board. Contact information for the various Tennessee Department of Health-Health Related Boards can be found at this link:  Additionally, the TDH Health Related Boards has a COVID-19 information page at this link: