TDMHSAS Announces New Director of Faith-Based Initiatives

Department promotes familiar face to leadership role
Monday, December 04, 2023 | 10:49am
headshot of Jaime Harper

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is excited to announce the appointment of James Harper as Director of Faith-Based Initiatives.  The new role is a promotion for Harper who has served as Assistant Director for almost two years.  Prior to joining the department in January 2022, Harper was a Faith-Based Community Coordinator serving middle Tennessee through the department’s Faith-Based Initiative.

The TDMHSAS Faith-Based Initiative encompasses the department’s four Faith-Based Community Coordinators, 10 Lifeline Peer Project Coordinators serving regions across the state, 10 Hybrid Lifeline Coordinators serving rural and distressed counties, and the Collegiate Recovery Initiative.  The TDMHSAS Faith-Based Initiative is nearly a decade old and has certified close to 1,100 faith-based recovery partners to provide spiritual and pastoral supports to people living with mental health and substance use challenges.

“It’s just an awesome feeling to not only be a part of this movement we’ve built in Tennessee but now to be leading it, I’m just so humbled and grateful,” said James Harper, MS, NCC, CPRS.  “What we’re trying to do with our Faith-Based Initiative is create opportunities for hope and healing all across our state, and I am excited to bring more people of faith to this worthy and meaningful effort.”

Harper is open and honest about his struggles with addiction and mental health challenges.  As a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS), Harper shares his journey of recovery and wellness to inspire others.  Harper is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) having graduated from Lipscomb University in 2021 with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions.

“Jaime’s presence is just so awesome and so perfect for this role.  Where others might shout or gesticulate, he has a spirit of calmness and relatable manner of speaking that enables him to get to the core of some really difficult topics and instill knowledge and passion in the people he meets,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “We’re grateful to our previous director, Monty Burks, and all the men and women who serve in leadership roles in this initiative who are strengthening communities across our great state.”

To connect with the TDMHSAS Faith-Based Initiative and to learn more about the resources that are available all across the state, visit our website at