Mental Illness

Living with Mental Health Challenges

Living with Mental Health Challenges

How do you know if you have a mental illness? It’s not always easy to know but there are some common signs and symptoms of mental illness. You can read more about specific mental health conditions here.

If you are living with mental illness, know that you are not alone. There are many of us like you in different stages of recovery. It may seem odd to use the word “recovery” since that is usually associated with addiction, but we have found that like recovery from addiction, recovery from mental illness can require daily dedication, self-awareness and complete honesty. One in five adults in the United States experiences some form of mental illness each year. It takes courage to ask for help but know that you are worth it!


There are many ways to find wellness and recovery despite experiencing mental illness. Many of us start with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®). WRAP® is a self-designed prevention and wellness process you can use to get well, stay well, and make your life the way you want it to be. It is also helpful for designating how you want a mental health crisis to be handled and who you want to be involved in your care. WRAP® classes are provided throughout the state at Peer Support Centers.


Choosing the right mix of treatment and support that works for you is an important step toward wellness and recovery. Some of the tools that can help include medication, therapy, education, and peer support. Other people include things like exercise, acupuncture, and affirmations as part of their wellness plan. You will develop the plan that is right for you.

If you are looking for a mental health professional, NAMI has created a step-by-step guide of things to consider. To find a community mental health center near you, click here. You can also call the Tennessee Disability Pathfinder at 800-640-4636 to get help in connecting to a community mental health center in your area. To find a private psychiatrist in your area, contact your health insurance plan. If you do not have health insurance, you might be eligible for the Behavioral Health Safety Net.

Some people need to start with a basic foundation, such as housing, food, or income. If you are in need of housing, our Housing within Reach database can help. For food, employment and other resources, try Tennessee 211.

Helpline of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

800.560.5767 or

If you’re having trouble getting mental health or substance use services, call the Helpline to talk to an advocate who will listen to your concerns and provide information about available resources in your area.

Peer Support

Knowing you are not alone in your journey to wellness can make all the difference. There are trained Certified Peer Recovery Specialists throughout Tennessee who live a life of recovery from mental illness or substance use disorder and provide life-changing peer support to others. Learn more about the power of peer support here.