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Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council

The Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council (BHWAC) was established by Mayor David Briley in May 2018 to promote broad collaboration between government and community partners to support systems change that will ultimately better serve residents and families experiencing behavioral and mental health issues. Made up of a diverse group of public-private stakeholders, The Council is charged with advancing a behavioral health system that supports prevention, awareness, recovery and resilience and equitable access to holistic, comprehensive and affordable care.

The Council also promotes alignment between and amplifies the work of the collective impact initiatives: All Children Excel (ACE) Nashville and the Community Mental Health Systems Improvement workgroup (CMHSI). The Council provides a mechanism for making collective policy, practice and alignment recommendations for inclusion in Metro government’s services and budget.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 American adults live with a mental health condition and less than half receive treatment. Severe depression among youth has also significantly increased in recent years and, fueled by the opioid epidemic, substance abuse is rising dramatically.

The Council underscores Mayor Briley’s demonstrated commitment to behavioral and mental health since taking office in March 2018 with a particular focus around trauma-informed supports and efforts to address the unmet needs of individuals with behavioral health issues encountering the criminal justice system so that preventable incarcerations decline. In January 2019, Mayor Briley and community leaders participated in the opening of the Mental Health Cooperative’s new crisis treatment center — a partnership between Metro, the State and the cooperative to provide a safe place for those in psychiatric crisis and serves as an important resource for first responders to divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system to the care they need. Since implementing new protocols in recent months, the police have seen significantly reduced wait times with persons in crisis (from 100 minutes to an averages of 30 minutes) freeing up more work hours for officers.

Advisory Council Members

  • Katina Beard, CEO, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center
  • Rob Briley, Former Tennessee Legislator and Person in Recovery
  • Schatzie Brunner, Advocate
  • Monty Burks, Director of Special Projects, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Judge Sheila Calloway, Juvenile Court of Metro Nashville and Davidson County
  • Judge Daniel Eisenstein, Retired Mental Health Court Judge and Advocate
  • Brian Gill, Vice President of Behavioral Health, Saint Thomas Health
  • Daron Hall, Sheriff, Davidson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mary Linden Salter, Executive Director, Tennessee Association of Alcohol and other Addiction Services
  • Tony Majors, Executive Officer of Student Services, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Robin Nobling, Executive Director, NAMI
  • Jameson Norton, CEO, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Dr. William Richie, Psychiatrist, Assistant Professor, Meharry Medical College
  • Pamela Sessions, CEO, Renewal House
  • Dr. Jeffrey Stovall, Psychiatrist, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Angie Thompson, Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Metro Public Health Department, Co-Chair BHWAC
  • Bob Vero, CEO,  Centerstone Tennessee, Co-Chair BHWAC
  • Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO, Nashville General Hospital
  • Pam Womack, CEO, Mental Health Cooperative