Consumer Run For Consumers
The Tennessee Mental Health Consumers' Association is Tennessee’s only statewide consumer owned and operated organization with a board of directors and staff composed entirely of individuals with a mental illness. It is an organization that understands and lives the concept of peer-support.

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Latest News

TMHCA Staff Attend Relias Learning Conference in Nashville Sept. 23-25, 2014

Stacey and Tory with Chris Gardner

Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association believes in education and support not only geared toward those we serve but to increase the knowledge and skillset of our employees. Two of TMHCA’s staff, Stacey Murphy and Tory Vaughn, recently attended the Relias Learning Conference that was held in Nashville this year to stay updated on current learning styles and trends.

 At the 2014 Relias Learning Conference, Stacey and Tory had the pleasure of hearing a motivating story of self-advocacy that played a key role in the recovery from homelessness for Chris Gardner. Mr. Gardner became a familiar name through his book and movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith who was nominated for an Academy Award and the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Chris Gardner in his year long struggle with homelessness while being a single parent.

 Here are a few quotes from Mr. Gardner that he quickly gives credit to his mother for instilling in him:

 We need a new vision of the American Dream that focuses on empowerment and not entitlements.

You can do or be anything you want to be – not that you can have what you want but YOU can do and be it! Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream and you have to protect it. People will tell you that you can’t do something because they can’t do it. Sometimes that means saying to the man/woman in the mirror that you can do or be anything you want. You CAN perpetuate what happens to you or choose to go another way. Whatever you want to be in this life be the best at it. If you want to be the garbage man, be the best garbage man. If you want to be a banker, be the best banker. Whatever you want to be is your button in life. Find your button and push it.

Mr. Gardner was sitting with his 14 month old son, homeless in his car prior to losing it, and he had this thought, “How did I get here?” He said he then realized, “I drove here!  If I drove here, I can drive myself out of here!” He goes on to say that you have to take ownership of your life if you’re ever going to change it.

 As a proven strong self-advocate, Mr. Gardner encourages that the greatest honor one can have in their life is for someone to tell you that “I’m trusting you to be my voice, I’m trusting you to be my advocate.”


SERVICE OF HOPE: October 12, 2014

HAPI sponsors the Service of Hope to recognize the role of faith and hope in mental health and addiction recovery. Personal stories of courage and success in overcoming difficult life circumstances are shared by four individuals. The service includes original poetry, music in praise of our God, and art that expresses joy in living. The Service theme “I Raise My Voice” reflects the empowerment and joy that comes from finding hope, peace and love.

The Service of Hope calls attention to Mental Illness Awareness Week October 5-11, 2014 and is open to all people across the State of Tennessee. Selections will be read from the booklet “Faith, Hope and Recovery in Letters 2014″ that will be distributed at the reception following the service. Artworks from HAPI artists will be exhibited at the reception.

TMHCA’s Dan Hamer Attends Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator’s Refresher Training

Dan Hamer in the front far right

TMHCA’s West Tennessee Regional Advocate, Dan Hamer (pictured in the front far right), has just returned from The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery’s Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator’s refresher training. He had the honor of being trained by The Copeland Center’s Executive Director, Matthew Federici and Rona McBrierty also of the Copeland Center. According to Dan, it was an awesome training and he is doubly excited to be part of a new direction that the program is taking by focusing on “I” statements and intentionality.

Becoming an Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator was always a dream for Dan. His dream came to fruition in 2012 when Dan was accepted and attended his initial Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator class in Texas. When asked about WRAP® Dan is quick to tell you that it has changed his life in many ways. “My life has gone from being emotionally stable to WELL.” This has occurred since he has been teaching and implementing his own WRAP® over the last seven years. If there is one message that Dan would like to leave people with it is that dreams do come true!

Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association Joins Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations

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 NASHVILLE – On July 1, 2014 Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association (TMHCA) was welcomed as an affiliate member of Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations (TAMHO).TMHCA is looking forward to being an active member of Tennessee’s mental health trade organization. The partnership will serve to enhance both organizations.

Jennifer Jones, Vice President of Public Policy and Public Relations of TMHCA stated, “This affiliation gives the mental health consumers of Tennessee an even stronger collective voice in their own recovery.” She further commented that, “This alliance will benefit all involved. I see this as another step forward in recovery for the members that we serve.”

For more information about TAMHO please visit their website at:


Governor Haslam Receives A Thank You From The Mental Health Community


NASHVILLE – On June 12, 2014 Jennifer Jones and Stacey Murphy of Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association (TMHCA) presented Governor Bill Haslam with thank you cards signed by over 100 mental health consumers from throughout the state. The cards represented appreciation for the reinstatement of mental health peer support center funding for the coming fiscal year. At the meeting the Governor expressed his gratitude upon receiving the cards and stated that he would read all of them himself since the mental health community cared enough to thank him.

Jennifer Jones, Vice President of Public Policy and Public Relations for TMHCA said, “I am pleased that Governor Haslam understands and cares about the needs of the mental health consumers in the state. I personally want to thank him for the continued funding for peer support centers and encourage Governor Haslam to designate the funding as recurring for future years.”

During the last budget season funding for mental health peer support centers was not included in the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) because of a mandatory 5% cut per department. Grass roots advocacy efforts throughout the state led Governor Haslam to restore peer support center funding.

There are 45 peer support centers throughout the state that impact the lives of approximately 3,000 mental health consumers a month. These centers also serve veterans that have returned from combat. The centers employ about 150 individuals that also experience mental health issues such as bipolar, major depression and PTSD.

Peer support centers were established in 1989 the first being Friend’s Helping Friends in Nashville, TN. Since that time they have grown to be a touchstone in many people’s lives by providing support, education, advocacy and family of choice for the participants in each program. The struggle to keep the peer centers open has been occurring for many years due to the poor economy and annual budget cuts. The mental health community has dedicated its efforts to keep the doors open at each of the 45 centers across the state as they are a vital part of the participants’ wellness and recovery.


Bridges ProgramPeer CenterBeers Van Gogh Center of ExcellenceCertified Peer SpecialistsMental Health First AidPeer CounselingRegional Advocacy Program

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