Planning & Policy Councils

As required by Title 33 (the state’s mental health and substance abuse services law) the Tennessee Department of Mental Health Services Planning and Policy Council is comprised of mental health and substance abuse service providers, stakeholders, consumers and family members, and advocates.  The purpose of the Council is to advise the Department on mental health and substance abuse service needs through an annual needs assessment process and to inform the Department on potential new legislation. The Planning and Policy Council's mission is to advise the department about the service system, policy development, legislation, budget requests, system evaluation, and monitoring.

If you are interested in serving on the Council, contact Ila McDermott at 

Planning and Policy Council responsibilities:

        - To advise the Commissioner as to plans and policies to be followed in the service system and the operation of TDMHSAS's programs and facilities;

        - To recommend to the General Assembly, legislation and appropriations for such programs and facilities;

        - To advocate for and publicize the recommendations;

        - To publicize the situation and needs of persons with mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, and substance use disorders and their families; and

        - To meet at least quarterly.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health Services  and the Planning and Policy Council prepare a Joint Annual Report to the Governor on the service system, including department programs, services, supports and facilities.

Focus of the Planning and Policy Council:

      - Identification of common areas of concern to be addressed by the service areas (mental health and substance use disorders);

      - Needs of service recipients who are children or elderly and those with mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, and substance use disorders;

      - Evaluation of needs assessment, service and budget proposals;

      - Reconciliation of policy issues among the service areas; and

      - Annual review of the adequacy of Title 33 to support the service systems. (T.C.A. §33-1-402).
        This council has a minimum of 17 members, not including ex officio members, appointed by the commissioner for three-year terms

The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each appoints one legislator as a member of the council. The governor is an ex officio member of the council and appoints the chairman, and representatives of state agencies as ex officio members of the council. The Commissioner serves ex officio as secretary to the council.

Current or former service recipients and members of service recipient families comprise a majority of the council's membership and represent persons with mental illness and substance use disorders.

Persons interested in serving on the TDMHSAS Planning and Policy Council should send their curriculum vitae to:


Ila McDermott, Program Manager
Office of Planning Tennessee
Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services 
Phone: (615) 253-6396

For more information, please click here.