Volunteer Behavioral Health (VBH) is pleased to promote World Mental Health Day celebrated Oct. 10 every year. This year, VBH is taking the pledge through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to continue our commitment to the health of our communities we serve and to inspire those in need.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the United States experience mental illness each year and 937,000 adults in Tennessee have a mental health condition. Children can struggle with mental health and getting treatment as well. As one example, 59.4% of those ages 12-17 in Tennessee having depression did not receive any care in the previous year.

“World Mental Health Day gives us one more opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health when it comes to overall health,” said Phyllis Persinger, CEO and President of VBH. “The challenges over the last few years have created new awareness around mental health issues for both adults and children and just how critical prevention, early intervention, and treatment are to our wellbeing.”

What is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day was started in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health as a day for sharing resources and highlighting important mental health topics. Volunteer, and other community mental health agencies, work through advocacy and education to spread information to residents throughout the 32-county area they serve in the Upper Cumberland, Middle, and Southeast regions of Tennessee.

“It’s important to continue to talk about mental health openly and with compassion as it is something that affects us all in one way or another,” said Volunteer’s Gallatin and Hendersonville Center Director, Susan Phillips. “We’re always here to help with starting those conversations and being a support for the community.”

Where to Get Resources

Prioritizing mental health can be difficult when life feels overwhelming.

Fortunately, there are tools and resources readily available to help people experiencing mental health issues and concerns to thrive.

NAMI Tennessee – ( The National Alliance for Mental Illness is a grassroots non-profit composed of people affected by mental illness, their families, and community members. They provide education and support groups in addition to opportunities for advocacy.

TDMHSAS – ( The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is tasked with “Creating collaborative pathways to resiliency, recovery, and independence for Tennesseans living with mental illness and substance use disorders.” The department provides information and links to services for adults, children, young adults, and families throughout the state.

How to Get Help

One of the directives for World Mental Health Day is to increase access to care for all. Often, the biggest challenge is overcoming the stigma of reaching out for help. To that end, Volunteer has worked to make obtaining mental health treatment a simpler process through a No Wrong Door philosophy and Same Day Access to services.

This means that a community member can call the First-Time Appointment line and receive services such as an intake, Care Management, and Medication Management that same day where previously the process could have taken several days or weeks. The First-Time Appointment line is 1-877-567-6051. Additionally, Crisis Services are available 24-hours a day to respond to adults experiencing a mental health crisis at 1-800-704-2651.

VBH accepts all TennCare plans along with other commercial insurance and is also a participating member in the state’s Behavioral Health Safety Net program, which provides mental health coverage for both adults and children. To inquire about services or Safety Net eligibility, please call 1-877-567-6051.

Susan Phillips is the local VBH Center Director at Cumberland Mental Health.