Faith-Based Initiatives

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the working definition of recovery is “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

There are many different types of recovery and those often have a tremendous toll on Tennesseans are not limited to behavioral health challenges, including mental health and substance use disorders. Yet, in 2021 alone, 3,814 Tennesseans died from an overdose, which averages to about ten deaths each day; additionally, the state saw 1,222 deaths by suicide. The growth of this crisis has left no community untouched. We also know that while there are nearly 7 million Tennesseans, 85% of them affiliate with one of the state’s nearly 12,000 institutions of faith.

As the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services developed its response to the crisis, we recognized the opportunity to leverage this critical, untapped network of caring individuals and faith communities to help address unmet behavioral health needs in our state and walk with individuals on their journey of recovery.

Click this link or the image on the right to download our onepager.


Our Outcomes in Communities Across Tennessee


Certified Faith-Based
Recovery Partners

Faith-Based Community Coordinators


Educational Forums
Faith-Based Community Coordinators


Referrals to Treatment and Recovery Services
Lifeline Peer Project
Since 2014


Recovery Trainings
Lifeline Peer Project
Since 2014


Recovery Meetings Started
Lifeline Peer Project
Since 2014

Faith-Based Initiatives: Success Stories

Our Goals:

The goals of the Faith-Based Initiative are to:

  • Connect individuals struggling with behavioral health challenges to treatment
  • Facilitate understanding of treatment and recovery
  • Increase knowledge of mental health challenges and substance misuse
  • Spread awareness of the Faith-Based Initiative certification and its requirements
  • Help others understand the continuum of care and collaborate with it
  • Help groups understand and implement the best practice model
  • Promote and improve the effectiveness of the faith-based initiative in bridging the gap between the faith community and recovery support services
Tennessee's Faith-Based Community and Lifeline Peer Project Coordinators

Above: Most of Tennessee's Faith-Based Community Coordinators and Lifeline Peer Project Coordinators pictured at a conference in September 2023.

How We Can Help

Free Trainings

Connection with the TDMHSAS Faith-Based Initiatives team gives you access to experienced, knowledgeable, and professional trainers with expertise in many in-demand areas.  Trainings available range from the basics of addiction, mental health, and suicide prevention to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma-Informed Care.  Trainings can be combined to create events based on your community's specific needs.

Connection to Services

The Office of Faith-Based Initiatives is your linkage to Tennessee's Public Behavioral Health System and more.  Our department has more than 1,000 contracts with more than 300 organizations across the state providing community based prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services for people lacking insurance coverage and those with little or no means to pay.

Lifeline and Faith-Based Community Coordinators

The TDMHSAS Faith-Based Initiative includes an amazing team of men and women who are using their past as purpose.  They are able to directly relate to people who are struggling and get them the help they need.  Our Llifeliners and Faith-Based Community Coordinators are creative thinkers who are experienced in creating community connections.

See the Initiative in Action!

Community Event Calendar

Learn More

Ready to take the next step?  Use the links to learn more about the Faith-Based Initiative and how we can help you help the people in your community.