Mental Health News in Nashville and Tennessee

State Awarded Grant to Fight Youth Suicide

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health will receive more than $1.4 million over three years to help reduce suicide and suicide attempts by Tennessee youth.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for high school students and the second leading cause for college age youth in Tennessee.

TDMH Commissioner Doug Varney said the grant, known as Tennessee Lives Count (TLC), was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It went into effect Aug. 1 and will be used to better train individuals who work with high-risk youth to recognize the signs of suicide and to learn how to intervene to save lives.

TLC will also provide post-crisis follow-up to youth seen in emergency departments following a suicide attempt. The enhanced follow-up will help youth develop effective coping skills and improve resiliency. TLC will also provide suicide awareness training to emergency department staff. Additionally, TLC will provide training to administrative staffs of 35 school systems on how to develop a plan for their system should a suicide or a suicide attempt occur. 

This marks the third time the state has been awarded the TLC grant. The department will be working with Youth Village, Mental Health Association Middle Tennessee and Centerstone Research Institute, targeting youth ages 10 to 24.


Mental Health Association is 65 Years Strong

The Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee celebrates its 65th birthday this year. Founded by Vanderbilt’s first psychiatrist, Frank Luton, MD, this nonprofit agency is responsible for launching the Dede Wallace Center, Park Center, Crisis Intervention Center, Hickory Hall Day School, Tennessee Voices for Children and other mental health mainstays.

Today’s programs have a proven record spanning several decades:

  • an aging and Alzheimer’s program that provides free in-home visits and long-term care training,
  • help for neglected Latina women,
  • a school program that teaches children about mental health,
  • suicide prevention initiatives,
  • workplace wellness programs and
  • general mental health information and referrals.

The Mental Health Association offers free and low-cost depression screenings and seminars for local businesses, with topics such as Depression in the Workplace, Stress in the Workplace and Caring for Aging Parents.

“Aging baby boomers with Alzheimer’s, anxiety and depression from the economy, returning soldiers and other factors increase the need for improved mental health services,” President Tom Starling said. To continue meeting these needs, the agency is seeking corporate partners, other donors and volunteers who value mental health and workplace wellness. Call (615) 269-5355.


Nashville Psychiatrist Sees Success with NeuroStar

W. Scott West, MD, was a pioneer in April 2010.

That’s when the Nashville psychiatrist was the first in Tennessee to offer NeuroStar® Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for the treatment of depression. More than a year later, his decision has been proven sound. West has provided more than 300 NeuroStar sessions. While all of his patients have indicated some benefit from the treatment, he said 80 percent of patients have demonstrated remission of symptoms. NeuroStar is a treatment option for patients who fail to receive adequate benefit from antidepressant medication.

The efficacy of NeuroStar therapy was also confirmed in an independent study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines now include transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment option following failure of traditional initial treatment for depressed patients.

The therapy works by delivering focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses to non-invasively stimulate the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. Patients don’t require anesthesia or sedation and remain awake and alert. A 37-minute outpatient procedure is typically administered five days a week for four to six weeks. 

Today, seven providers offer the NeuroStar therapy in Tennessee.


Cumberland Heights Adds Director for Health Professional Rehab

Cumberland Heights, a Nashville alcohol and drug treatment facility, welcomed Terrence L. Alley, MD, this summer as the medical director of its Healthcare Professionals Program.

Alley has limited his practice to the addiction field since 1985 and is certified in Addiction Medicine. Most recently, he was medical director of The Right Step, a rehab facility in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Prior to that, he was medical director of Bradford Health Services near Birmingham and directed Bradford’s healthcare professionals program. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.

“Dr. Alley’s track record in treatment of executives and professionals should bring this dimension of Cumberland Heights’ care to a level of excellence that only a few treatment centers can match,” Cumberland Heights CEO Jim Moore said.

Founded in 1966, Cumberland Heights has treated more than 100,000 patients from 47 states and a number of foreign countries.


Parthenon Pavilion is 40 Years Old

In June, Parthenon Pavilion at Centennial Medical Center celebrated 40 years of service to the community.

Founded in 1971 by Thomas Frist Sr., MD, Parthenon Pavilion is the oldest and largest private psychiatric hospital in Middle Tennessee. It began as a unit in Park View Hospital and was HCA’s second psychiatric hospital.

Since 1990, Parthenon Pavilion has served more than 74,000 people. In addition to inpatient treatment, the hospital provides 24-hour emergency assistance, assessment, crisis intervention, referral and educational programs. As the only psychiatric hospital in the state connected to a tertiary medical center, Parthenon Pavilion provides a full continuum of behavioral health and medical services.