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Division of Planning, Research and Forensics


The Office of Planning coordinates TDMHSAS planning activities and responsibilities, including the development of:

  • Needs Assessment Process: The Needs Assessment Process creates a method for the Statewide Planning and Policy Council and the seven (7) regional Planning and Policy Councils to influence the design of the mental health and substance use delivery system. The Councils identify each region’s needs and target limited state and federal financial resources to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs as identified. Needs information is used to communicate and integrate results into a strategic planning and action process to ensure assessment information is used in meaningful ways. Considerations must include the Governor’s and Commissioner’s priorities, state and federal law requirements, SAMHSA’s strategic initiatives, data from statewide needs assessments, and funding availability. This model (PDF) depicts the annual process.
  • TDMHSAS Three Year Plan, required by Title 33, Tennessee Code Annotated: The Three-Year Plan informs the public of the Department’s goals, objectives, and strategies that include prevention, early intervention, treatment services and supports for people living with mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, and/or substance abuse disorders. An annual assessment of need for services and supports is used in the development of this plan. The Plan is divided into two documents: The Narrative Document and the Strategies and Outcomes.
  • Joint Annual Report: The Joint Annual Report is created in partnership between the Department and the Statewide Planning and Policy Council. The Joint Annual Report describes accomplishments and challenges experienced during the most recent fiscal year. The report is provided to the Governor and the State Legislature.
  • Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Application and State Plan: The Mental Health Services Block Grant funds the community-based service delivery system for mental health services to children diagnosed with serious emotional disturbance and adults living with serious mental illness. Tennessee's Mental Health Services Block Grant dollars are spent with emphasis on prevention, recovery, and providing services not covered by third party payment.
  • Mental Health Block Grant Implementation Report: This report is submitted to SAMSHA annually to provide information on purchases made with block grant dollars.

Planning and Policy Councils

TDMHSAS's Office of Planning coordinates the Planning and Policy Council system which, established under T.C.A. §33-1-401 and T.C.A. §33-2-202 (AKA the mental health and developmental disability law) and expanded as the result of Department initiative, provides grassroots citizen participation in service delivery system planning. The Council structure must include the participation of consumers, family members of consumers, providers, and advocates. Council participants advise TDMHSAS on the development of the Department's Three-Year Plan, the federal Block Grant applications and reports, and a Joint Annual Report (developed jointly between the Department and the Statewide Council) for the benefit of the Governor and State Legislature. The Council system also fully participates in the annual assessment of need for mental health and substance abuse services. The Statewide Council advises the TDMHSAS regarding policy, budget requests, and the development of and evaluation of services.

The Planning and Policy Council meeting schedule is located here.

RMHI Board of Trustees

Each of the Department’s Regional Mental Health Institutes has a board to advise the CEOs and inform the public about the needs and activities of each facility. Members are appointed by the commissioner for three-year terms. People interested in serving on the Boards of Trustees should send their curriculum vitae to

Planning Links