Member Spotlight | Introducing Joanne Perley,

TPHA Board Member representing Mental Health and Substance Misuse

Joanne Perley headshot

Integral to achieving public health goals are mental health issues that impact the physical and social well-being of individuals.  The impact extends beyond the individual to family and his or her larger community when issues remain unaddressed.  Joanne Perley understands this better than most.  Losing her father to suicide inspired Joanne at an early age to pursue a career as an advocate for suicide prevention leading her to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services where she currently serves as the Assistant Director of Suicide Prevention.  Mental health's connection to public health led Joanne to TPHA, where she serves as the Middle Tennessee representative on the Association's Board of Directors.  

Although recent national events have led to an increase in awareness about mental health issues, Joanne has noticed only a minor rise in the conversations around suicide. Regardless, there is still much to do to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially suicide, and make it easier for individuals to talk about them. According to Joanne, lessening the negative connotations associated with mental illness can go a long way to helping people experience more positive mental health outcomes.

In November, Joanne agreed to organize the new Mental Health Section for TPHA. The Mental Health Section will develop the expertise needed to ensure that mental health is integrated in all aspects of Tennessee’s public health including, but not limited, to developing and informing mental health resources and disseminating them statewide to all TPHA members, partners, and the public.  Joanne looks forward to leading TPHA’s efforts to educate the general public about free mental health resources and suicide prevention programs and how to make use of them. She is actively seeking section members and welcomes all TPHA members interested in joining to contact her at [email protected]

**For anyone experiencing a mental health crisis Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) or go to TN Statewide Crisis Phone Line