Crisis Services for Children


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or the statewide crisis hotline (1-855-CRISIS-1).

What is a crisis?

A mental health crisis is an intense behavioral, emotional, substance use or psychiatric situation that, if left untreated, could result in an emergency situation.

Crisis services include toll-free hotline help and mobile crisis services that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
If you need crisis services at any time, call the statewide toll-free crisis hotline at: 
855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471)

Or call toll-free youth statewide crisis telephone lines:

  • Youth Villages (North Middle) (866) 791-9221
  • Youth Villages (South Middle) (866) 791-9222
  • Mental Health Cooperative (Davidson Co.) (615) 726-0125
  • Youth Villages (Rural West) (866) 791-9227
  • Frontier Health (Upper East) (877) 928-9062
  • Youth Villages (Memphis Region) (866) 791-9226
  • Helen Ross McNabb (Knoxville) (865) 539-2409
  • Youth Villages (East Region) (866) 791-9224
  • Youth Villages (South East Region) (866) 791-9225

How do crisis services help?
Crisis services offer immediate counseling and assistance to help avert an emergency and try to avoid the person in crisis being placed in a more restrictive, less clinically appropriate situation. We do this by:

  • Promoting the safety and emotional stability of individuals with mental illness or emotional crises
  • Minimizing further deterioration of individuals with mental illness or emotional crises
  • Assisting individuals in developing and/or enhancing better coping skills and a natural support system
  • Helping individuals with mental illness or emotional crises obtain ongoing care and treatment
  • Encouraging services in the least restrictive setting that is clinically appropriate to meet the individual’s needs


YOUTH VILLAGES, MENTAL HEALTH CO-OPERATIVE, FRONTIER HEALTH, AND HELEN ROSS MCNABB provide crisis services for children and youth in Tennessee. Emergency counselors (triage specialists) handle calls 24/7 through their regional hotline and determine an appropriate response.

Throughout the state, Specialized Crisis Services staff assess and evaluate children and youth up to age 18 who are experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

For example, a triage specialist might answer a call from a school official reporting that one of her students is expressing thoughts of suicide. The specialist speaks with the caller to determine if the child has a plan and any means to harm herself (along with further detail of the situation) and to determine the appropriate response to the crisis call. If the situation warrants,
the triage specialist will dispatch a crisis responder to the scene to intervene in the crisis, get more details, and arrange appropriate services and safety plans.

When do I call Specialized Crisis Services? 
Call for psychiatric emergencies when a child or adolescent:

  • Expresses serious suicidal or homicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Experiences severe depression
  • Exhibits bizarre behavior, disorientation, confusion or hallucinations
  • Acts in a destructive manner or is otherwise out of control
  • May need care in a psychiatric hospital