TDMHSAS Announces Grantees for New Children’s Mental Health Crisis Facilities

New options for children and families to be located in Nashville and Memphis
Friday, May 10, 2024 | 09:01am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is excited to announce the community mental health centers that are receiving grant contracts to open two new Crisis Stabilization Units and Walk-In Centers for Children.  TDMHSAS will work with Mental Health Cooperative in Nashville and Alliance Healthcare Services in Memphis to open these new options for families with children in crisis.

Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) offer intensive, short-term stabilization for someone experiencing a mental health emergency.  Crisis Walk-In Centers offer face-to-face, 24/7/365 evaluation for those who are experiencing a mental health emergency.  Both of these services are available free of charge regardless of insurance coverage.

Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly budgeted $5 million in new state funding for the creation of these centers.  Knoxville is home to the state’s first CSU/WIC for children operated by the McNabb Center and funded with a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and state infrastructure dollars.

Data from the Knoxville pilot project shows both a significant need for these services and high-quality outcomes for children and families.  Nearly 2,200 children and youth received services at the walk-in center (Nov. 2021-Feb. 2024) and more than 700 were served through the crisis stabilization unit (June 2022-Feb. 2024).  For children and youth served by the CSU, 94% were diverted from inpatient or residential care, and most impactful for families in crisis, the opening of the children’s CSU cut the average time families spent waiting in the emergency department for placement by a third.

“The response to the children’s mental health crisis continues to be a pivotal moment in the behavioral health field, and with this investment, Tennessee continues its leadership in providing the right intervention at the right time in the right place for our families and children,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “We’re so grateful to Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly for this funding and to our amazing community partners who will be doing this work.”

A recent study ranked Tennessee #1 overall for access to and cost of mental health care and lower rates of mental health issues among children and youth.  The current fiscal year TDMHSAS budget contains more than $52.7 million dedicated to mental health and substance use services for children and youth. Investments made in this area during the Lee Administration include:

  • $250M K-12 Mental Health Trust Fund
  • $15M School-Based Behavioral Health Liaisons – program expanded multiple times with investments in FY21 ($3M), FY23 ($4M), and FY24 ($8M).
  • $7.6M Behavioral Health Safety Net for Uninsured Children (FY21).  These services include assessment, therapy, care coordination, medication management, family support services, pharmacy assistance and coordination.
  • $6.5M Tennessee Resiliency Project (FY22) – Funded early childhood mental health, school-based programming, and enhanced crisis care.
  • $625,000 TN Suicide Prevention Network Expansion (FY20)
  • $500,000 Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Promotion (FY20)

Learn more about TDMHSAS services for children, youth, young adults, and families at