You're Not Alone

Friday, August 15, 2014 - by Commissioner E. Douglas Varney
E. Douglas Varney
E. Douglas Varney

Through the untimely death of entertainer Robin Williams, a bright light is shining once again on the often-avoided conversation about suicide. 

In my work over the years as a mental health professional, helping people through crisis of spirit, marriage and family, I have seen firsthand how people feel hopeless in their struggle. I have also seen the tragic consequences of someone committing suicide and the family members left behind. 

Today, as the commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, my mission is to help people out of that dark lonely place and to know there is hope.

While we all face challenges in life, some of us tragically succumb to fears that manifest into a nightmare, bound and determined to erase our will to live. 

If you or someone you know and love is at a breaking point, especially one so low they speak of wanting to end their life, take immediate action to get them help. Ask for help and you will get it.

Call the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services 1-855-CRISIS-1 or (1-855-274-7471). Someone is there, 24-7 to listen and help.  

There are people across the state who will mobilize to assist you. 

Other resources include: 
TN Suicide Prevention Network at 615-297-1077 

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) 

Click here to view available information online.

The tragic loss of actor and comedian Robin Williams has touched many. The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ skilled professionals and agency partners across the state are ready to help you and your loved ones overcome this or other challenges with mental health issues. 

Make that call for yourself or someone you love.   

E. Douglas Varney
Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services





Are You A Sheep Or A Wolf?

This last week I had the opportunity to participate in a unique four day survival course that was instructed by some of our military’s finest from the U.S. Special Forces, Navy Seals and Delta Force.  One of my good friends, a veteran major of the U.S. Army Special Forces, developed the unique survival course along with several other elite U.S. military professionals.  ... (click for more)

No More Immigrants Till Our Veterans Are Taken Care Of

From the news today, "A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had been a patient, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.  "Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at ... (click for more)

Maryville Police Department's Kenny Moats Was The Officer Slain Thursday

Officer Kenny Moats of the Maryville Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on Thursday.  Officer Moats was with the department for over nine years and was currently serving as a drug enforcement agent. Assistant Commissioner David Purkey said, "It is with heavy heart that I express my condolences to the family and friends of ... (click for more)

Auto Burglary Thwarted In Bradley County

A man has been arrested in Bradley County, after attempting to steal a vehicle. On Thursday, Deputy Jessica Morgan observed a silver truck in a church parking lot on South Lee Highway. While checking the premises, Dep. Morgan observed a male wearing a black tank top and red shorts exiting the rear window of the cab into the bed of the truck. Once the suspect noticed Dep. Morgan, ... (click for more)

Sale Creek Storms Past Central, 3-0, In Volleyball Action

Despite playing short-handed, Sale Creek’s once-beaten Lady Panthers made short work of Central, 3-0, Thursday night in high school volleyball action at Central High School. The Lady Panthers sprinted to their 11 th win in 12 matches this season by whipping Central 25-21, 25-13, 25-8 in the non-district matchup. “We played well today,” Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill said. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Central Inducts Five Alums into Hall of Fame Tonight

Five Chattanooga Central High School star student-athletes will be inducted into the Central Sports Hall of Fame tonight prior to the Central-Soddy Daisy football game. The five former student athletes are: Steve Arnold (1972, track and field), Gina Brooks (1985, softball), Steve Carroll (1966, football), Rick Duncan (1971, baseball), Gene Hall (1952, boxing). Gene ... (click for more)