Employee Resource Portals » Employee Crisis Management

Employee Crisis Management

The physical and emotional health of our employees is of the utmost importance to us. We want our employees to know that we are here to support you if you are experiencing any personal issues and need assistance. We also want to provide various resources.  If you have any questions about the resources below, please reach out with any questions you may have or if you feel the need to talk with someone further.


If you are experiencing a crisis, call 911 or one of the numbers below.

Crisis hotline: 1.877.928.9062

Crisis hotline if you are impacted in any way by COVID: 1.833.434.2684



Optum Emotional Support Help Line

The Optum Emotional Support Help Line is available 24/7 to anyone in need, even if they are not enrolled in the state’s benefit plan. The help line 866-342-6892 is staffed by professionally trained mental health experts and free of charge.



COVID-19 Emotional Support Line Now Available for Tennessee Educators

Phone Line to Provide Mental Health Support for Front-line Workers Extended to Educators


Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), in partnership with several statewide organizations, announced the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is now available for all Tennessee educators. 


The emotional support line provides free and confidential support from specially trained volunteer mental health professionals to callers experiencing increased anxiety and stress due to the national pandemic. The COVID-19 Emotional Support Line is available to call at 888-642-7886 from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. CT/ 7 a.m.- 11 p.m. ET daily. 


"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant challenges, anxiety and stressors for many, including those doing the work of educating our kids,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are grateful to our partners at TDMHSAS for extending access to this resource to all Tennessee educators, who now can get critical supports from trained mental health professionals in a confidential setting.”    


Specially trained mental health professionals answer incoming calls from the line and provide emotional support through active listening, helping callers identify and address basic needs, and informing callers about tools for managing stress and strategies for self-care. 


In May, the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line was created by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with the Mental Health Active Response Team (MHART), the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addictions Services (TAADAS), National Association of Social Workers-TN Chapter (NASW-TN), for healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. 


“When we created this Emotional Support Line with our partners back in May, it was intended for those working on the front lines of the pandemic working in health care and as first responders. Due to the outpouring of support as well as capacity, we are grateful to be able to announce this expansion to offer needed support to educators across the state of Tennessee,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. 


“We at MHART are so thankful to be able to be a part of facilitating the expansion of this Emotional Support Line to all teachers and educators across the state of Tennessee. The fact that 5 statewide organizations have come together in the span of just a few weeks to support this expansion is a testament to the goodwill of Tennesseans and to the desperate need for a service like this for educators who have been struggling during this pandemic now more than ever. We are committed to being there for our teachers because they are committed to being there for our kids in one of the noblest and oldest professions. The future of our state depends on their success,” said T.J. Stone, Executive Coordinator, MHART. 


The COVID-19 Emotional Support Line does not offer mental health treatment and is not intended to replace mental health crisis or suicide prevention services. The TDMHSAS Statewide Crisis Line is available at 855-274-7471 or by texting “TN” to 741-741. 


Learn more about the COVID-19 Emotional Support Line here.  


For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 and school reopening related resources, please visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus/reopening-guidance.html. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact   [email protected].   



Free and confidential service offers mental health support to essential workers


NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Tennessee’s Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress is adding a new method for people to reach out for help.  The free and confidential line now has the capability to offer assistance via text message. 


Tennessee healthcare workers, first responders, and all Tennesseans working in education, including educators and district and school administrators and staff, dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, or depression related to work can now call or text the Emotional Support Line at 888-642-7886 from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. CT / 7 a.m.- 11 p.m. ET daily. 


Specially trained mental health professionals who answer calls or respond to texts through the line can provide emotional support through active listening, help identify and address basic needs, and reference tools for managing stress and making a plan for self-care.  The line was created in May of 2020 as a resource for healthcare workers and first responders, and in December the line was expanded to offer services to any Tennessean working in education. 


“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression at double the rate we’d expect in normal times, and we know this crisis has been much harder on our essential workers.  We’re hopeful that this new text message capability will remove some of the stigma of asking for help and encourage more people to reach out,” said Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 


“District and school leaders, staff, and educators continue to face significant challenges due to COVID-19, and this new feature provides the opportunity for easier access to much-needed mental health resources,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are grateful to our state partners for continuing this critical support and providing additional access to free and confidential mental health services for our front line workers, including the classroom heroes who are educating our children.” 


"’Unprecedented’ is a word that’s overused these days, but it really fits for the kinds of stresses confronting us during the pandemic. As one of the first to staff the MHART Emotional Support Line, I was struck by how challenging it is to face things never faced before in this generation. I also was encouraged to see how people often only needed that brief telephone contact to center themselves and identify a way forward. The addition of text capacity will make this valuable service even easier for those in need of immediate support,” said Cathryn Yarbrough, PhD, MHART Board Member. 


For more information on the Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress, visit this link on TN.gov: TN.gov/behavioral-health/emotional-support  

Employee Assistance Program: COVID-19 Information & Assistance
Employee Assistance Program 
(Provided through GCS Insurance Plans)

What is the EAP?

ParTNers EAP services are offered to all benefits eligible local education (K-12) employees who participate in any of the state's medical insurance plans, and their eligible family members have full access to both EAP and behavioral health services. COBRA participants are also eligible.

  • All services are confidential and available at no cost to employees and their dependents.
  • You can easily access services by calling Optum, our employee assistance and behavioral health provider at (855) 437-3486 — available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • You and your eligible dependents may use up to five, no cost counseling sessions per problem episode.


Preauthorization is required to utilize your EAP. Simply go to Here4TN.com or call (855) 437-3486 to obtain your preauthorization. If you prefer to access services over the phone, telephonic counseling is available as well as face-to-face appointments.


EAP services are offered at no cost to those individuals eligible to participate.  


Worried about Depression?

Take Charge at Work can help. Working with a coach over the phone, employees learn to manage symptoms of depression and stress in the workplace — so they can feel productive again. And it’s available at no additional cost to you as part of your Employee Assistance Program. Take the assessment today to find out if you qualify .


Click HERE to learn more about this free program.










Just a few of the many issues ParTNers EAP can help with:

  • Family or relationship issues
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Dealing with addiction
  • Legal or financial issues 
  • Child and elder care
  • Difficulties and conflicts at work
  • Grief and loss
  • Work/life balance