Skip to Main Content

Best Practices for Adults

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in cooperation with the Advisory Panel on Best Practice Guidelines, developed guidelines for use by psychiatrists, primary care physicians, psychologists, health service providers, nurses, nurse clinicians, physician extenders, social workers, and other health care professionals to:

  • Promote high quality of care for children and adolescents served by Tennessee’s public health system
  • Aid in identification, evaluation, and provision of effective treatment for persons with severe mental illness and severe emotional disorders
  • To promote continuity of care through establishment of uniform treatment options and the best use of multidisciplinary treatment resources.

The Behavioral Health Services for Adults Best Practice Guidelines contain information, statistics, and resources on selected behavioral health disorders as they apply to adults, specifically persons over 18 years of age. Among the disorders covered by these guidelines are: anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis (mental health and intellectual disabilities), eating disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, substance abuse disorders, co-occurring disorders (mental health and substance use), and traumatic brain injuries.

Included are disorders that frequently show up in adult populations as well as those that may be more discriminating in the type of individual in which they manifest. Screening instruments and symptom and treatment issues are in the guidelines. In addition, there are discussions on co-morbidities relative to other behavioral health disorders, physical health issues, and/or conditions linked to older adult populations. Special issues relevant to adult populations are also emphasized, including informed consent, recovery and resiliency, case management, precautions involving psychotropic medications, cultural competence, and mental health professional shortage areas.

Every effort has been made to include evidence-based treatment practices as part of the best practices, to the extent possible. Service maps are contained within the guidelines, including a map of the current mental health professional shortage areas in the state.

The 2010 Behavioral Health Services for Adults Best Practice Guidelines includes a total of 212 pages. The entire document can be downloaded here.