Milestones - 2000 to present

A Timeline:

2000 Comprehensive revision of Title 33 of the Tennessee Code Annotated passed June 23. Official name of the department changed from Mental Health and Mental Retardation to Mental Health. Statewide training on the new Mental Health law began. The Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) was started to create and expand affordable, safe, permanent and quality housing options in local communities for people with mental illness in Tennessee. Mental Health Matters, a TDMH radio show, was first broadcast.

2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is unveiled. Greene Valley Developmental Center celebrates 40th Anniversary. TDMH/THDA award housing grants for people with mental illness. TDMH Planning and Policy Council holds inaugural meeting. The University of Tennessee and the TDMH jointly offer the Tennessee Interdisciplinary Health Policy Program (TIHPP) for Law, medical and pharmacy students.

2002 In March, people with developmental disabilities, other than mental retardation, became eligible for services under the MH law. A plan was developed for expansion of services to them, subject to available funding. Suicide Prevention Awareness Day proclaimed on May 28.  Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) Surpasses 2005 goal of providing 2005
permanent housing options to people with mental illness. CHI wins top Eli Lilly Housing Award

2003 Virginia Trotter Betts named commissioner of the department. Real Choice Systems Change Oversight Committee convenes for first time with the goal of providing an effective, consumer-directed housing resource system. Housing Within Reach aims to change attitudes and misconceptions regarding community housing for persons with mental illness and co-occurring disorders thus fostering a welcoming environment for residents of Tennessee neighborhoods. On March 13, the TDMH&MR celebrates its 50th birthday. TDMH&MR web site re-design offers over 600 pages of access to information and services. US Department of Housing and Urban Development honors the department’s housing office for promoting fair housing for people with mental illness and co-occurring disorders. A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) director was appointed to oversee the department’s compliance in all HIPAA-related matters. New TennCare Behavioral Healthcare Contracts Sought by State. Task Force on Dual Diagnosis appointed to study current status of mental health supports for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Identify best practices for delivery of mental health supports.

2003-2004 The Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation celebrates 50 years of service to Tennessee. In the coming years, the term Mental Retardation will be changed by the federal government and many states, including Tennessee, to Intellectual Disabilities.

2007 Tennessee’s single state authority for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services transferred from the Department of Health to the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities by Executive Order.
Construction was completed on a new state-of-the-art facility for Memphis Mental Health Institute.

2009 Crisis Stabilization Units and Medically Monitored Crisis Detoxification Units open statewide to serve Tennesseans experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.
Available Suitable Accommodations passed by Legislature to control admissions/access at the 5 Regional Mental Health Institutes in order to maintain an appropriate and safe level of care for every patient who is receiving inpatient services.

2010 Construction was completed on a new state-of-the-art facility for Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, Tenn.

2011 E. Douglas Varney named as the new Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health. Responsibility for developmental disabilities transferred to the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The department’s name officially changes to Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

2012 Lakeshore Mental Health Institute closes in June, 2012. Patients are transferred to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga, and some come under the care of area providers. Records from the original Eastern State Hospital are preserved, and many artifacts from that time are transferred to the TDMHSAS Office of Communications and the Tennessee State Museum for preservation.