Learning Independence

Apr. 21, 2017

a medical professional counsels a patient

Tennessee Move Initiative helps patients transition to life outside mental health institute

When a patient in a hospital with a physical ailment starts improving, they return home to continue their recovery.

That process gets a bit more difficult for those struggling with mental illness, who need a dedicated support team as they make the transition to life outside a mental health institute.

The Tennessee Move Initiative recently launched by the state’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is designed to help.

Michael Cole is one of the many Tennesseans who's been helped by Helen Ross McNabb Center.

The program works with the staff of long-term state institutes to identify patients who are ready to take the next step toward independent living.

Three organizations throughout the state, including East Tennessee’s Helen Ross McNabb Center, help patients, their community housing providers and families throughout the transition. They coordinate care with all providers and also offer employment resources and peer support.

“Any time a person can be served in a more familiar environment, the better off they will be,” said Marie Williams, TDMHSAS commissioner.

“I am really excited about this initiative because it focuses on providing treatment where it belongs, in the community.”