On Track TN expands mental health resources for youth and young adults

Now serves Anderson, Montgomery and Rutherford Co.
Posted at 6:42 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 11:39:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee is expanding the On Track TN program to help children and young adults who’ve experienced their first mental health crisis.

Kaylee Wilson leads the First Episode Psychosis Team at the Mental Health Co-op in Nashville. There she oversees treatment for people between 15 and 30 years old in what she says is not your traditional mental health setting.

“The individual is not seen within the mental health lens. We’re seeing this individual as a person in recovery. So you would get support outside of care management and medication,” Wilson said.

Wilson says it may seem like they’re targeting young individuals, “but this is kind of naturally where psychosis would come about in someone’s life.”

On Track TN is federally funded through COVID-19 response grants and takes this notion to offer recovery across the state. They’ve now expanded to the following:

Montgomery Co.
Mental Health Cooperative

Anderson Co.
Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services

Rutherford Co.
Volunteer Behavioral Health Care Services

Existing programs can be found in:

Memphis-Shelby Co.
Alliance Healthcare

Nashville-Davidson Co.
Mental Health Cooperative

Northwest Tennessee (Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley Co.)
Carey Counseling

Chattanooga-Hamilton Co.
Helen Ross McNabb Center

Knoxville-Knox Co.
Helen Ross McNabb Center

According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, these three new counties were selected after a spike in the number of “face-to-face crisis assessments for ages 10-24.”

“We know that young people have been hit hardest by the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Data collected over the last year show higher rates of symptoms of anxiety or depression, higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts, and increased symptoms of psychosis among young people,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “We are so grateful to our community partners who are stepping up to do this work, and we are so appreciative of our federal partners, Governor Bill Lee, and the Tennessee General Assembly who support this program and so many others to meet the behavioral health needs of Tennesseans.

Wilson says isolation and financial stress can often act as triggers, but she won’t say the pandemic forced these psychotic episodes. So for those counties just now getting this resource here’s what you can expect:

  • Access to a team of professionals through coordinated specialty care.
  • Peer support from someone who has lived with an experience of mental health or substance abuse.
  • Families will also have access to a specialist to coach and guide them through the process.
  • An advisor meant to help with returning to school or work.

Wilson says they also don’t rule you out for not having insurance. That way they can help serve as many people in need of help. Since the program was first offered in Nashville, Wilson says they’ve had more than 80 people make it past the two-year program and on the path to recovery.

“These services are meant to convey hope and optimism to families and their loved ones. What we’re working on doing with On Track is reframing how individuals view the mental health system in general,” Wilson said.