TDMHSAS Announces First-Ever Assistant Commissioner Focused on Mental Health Services for Children and Youth

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New leadership and focus follow unprecedented investments in services
Wednesday, October 04, 2023 | 08:47am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is excited to announce the appointment of Beth Goodner as its first-ever Assistant Commissioner for Children and Youth Mental Health Services.  Goodner will lead a new division within TDMHSAS encompassing the department’s growing portfolio of mental health prevention, early intervention, treatment, and wellness programs for Tennesseans from birth to young adulthood.

Goodner has more than 30 years of mental health and substance abuse treatment experience working with children, adults, and families in the outpatient, inpatient, private practice, and home setting environments.  She joins the department after a decade at TrustPoint Hospital in Murfreesboro serving more than five years as Chief Executive Officer.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join such an amazing team and serve on behalf of the worthy cause of improving the mental health of Tennessee’s young people.  The women and men who work in this new division are already changing lives every day, and with this new focus and continued partnership from our amazing community providers, we will expand on our ability to increase the resiliency, recovery, and independence of Tennessee’s youth,” said Beth Goodner, TDMHSAS Assistant Commissioner for Children and Youth Mental Health Services.

During the administration of Governor Bill Lee and with the support of the Tennessee General Assembly, the TDMHSAS budget for children and youth mental health services has increased by $28 million or more than 220%.  The current amount budgeted in this area totals $41.2 million.  New and expanded programs include the Children’s Behavioral Health Safety Net, the Tennessee Resiliency Project, School-Based Behavioral Health Liaisons, Children’s Crisis Stabilization Units and Walk-In Centers, and Mental Health Awareness and Promotion.  All of these investments are on top of the $250 million K-12 Mental Health Trust Fund which is approaching its first announcement of funding.

“With this reorganization, we really want to maximize the landmark investments that the state continues to make by ensuring we’re drawing down and leveraging all of the federal funding we can at the same time.  Deservedly, there is much focus on children’s mental health right now, and we want to make sure our department and our state are best-positioned to have the biggest impact for Tennessee children and families,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.

“We know the earlier we make an intervention in a child’s life, the better the outcomes will be down the line.  With this new focus on growing programs that provide evidence based, clinically appropriate interventions as early as possible, we’re helping to strengthen families and communities across Tennessee for decades to come,” said Matt Yancey, LCSW, TDMHSAS Deputy Commissioner for Community Behavioral Health Programs.