embraceU-color@4x

Meet Our Care Team

The embrace U care team consists of a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, licensed therapists, and registered nurses.

Susanna Quasem, MD, QEEG-D

Child, Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist

LeTizia Baxter Smith, PMHNP-BC, APRN

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Jessica Lavender, MS, LPC-MHSP

embrace U Administrator

Beth Siller, MMFT

Program Therapist

Hailey Mercer, LMSW

Program Therapist

Stephanie “Hope” Page, RN, BSN

Program RN

Whitney Shariati, LMFT

Office & Patient Coordinator

Contact Us

Call us today at (615) 236-8619 or submit our form below detailing how we can best provide support.

We will reach out within 24 business hours.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
*Age limit may vary by service
Consent*
Sign up for the latest in adolescent mental health information, resources, and more.

Dr. Susanna Quasem
Child, Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist

Advice to My Younger Self: “To take life a bit less seriously, have more compassion for myself, and learn that it is okay to be an introvert and not want to be as social as everyone else. But to remember to push myself if there is something important to try.” 

 

Years of Experience:  Dr. Quasem has over 15 years of mental health experience.  

  • Medical Degree – University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Residency – Duke University Medical Center
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship – Duke University Medical Center

 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

I have always enjoyed working adolescents along with their family systems. I enjoy the colorfulness and complexity of adolescents. They keep me on my toes, and I always learn new things. I feel so much hope working with adolescents–if you can help them feel better, they have so much life ahead in which to flourish and contribute.  

 

What is something you have learned from working with adolescents?  

There are many things, but the two main factors important for adolescents are safety and connection. They need to feel safe and have a secure home base from which to explore the world and their own identities. They also need to feel strong connections and community. These connections can be with peers, family, teachers, clubs, coaches, pastors, online friends, etc.—even one or two people can be enough to feel connected.  

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger? 

I was really into school and loved learning! I was a perfectionist and ambitious from an early age, so I felt stressed. I was on my school’s gymnastics team, in many clubs, and on the student council. I could have used a group to support me in finding a better balance, learning how to set boundaries, and learning how to better communicate my needs to others, including asking for help.  

 

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

Receiving treatment is okay, healthy, and a courageous thing to do. It is a great investment of time and energy and a lovely gift to themselves that will pay big dividends.  

LeTizia Baxter Smith, PMHNP-BC, APRN
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Advice to My Younger Self: Try new things and do not worry about failing. You will discover important things about yourself from the experience.”

 

Years of Experience: LeTizia has over 15 years of mental health experience. 

  • Doctor of Nursing – Emory School of Nursing
  • Master of Science, Psychiatry/Nursing – Vanderbilt School of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Arts, Sociology – Vanderbilt University
 
 
 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

Adolescents are in a unique stage of life. They are growing from children to young adulthood. I love being one of the resources to help adolescents reach their full potential. And as a bonus, adolescents are honest and hilarious!

 

What is something you have learned from working with adolescents? 

Adolescents remind me of a time when I was not weighed down with responsibilities. Instead, I had the freedom to dream and the audacity to believe I could do anything. Our responsibility is to help young people recognize their strengths and foster their growth and development.

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

I was highly active from 10-18 years old. I was a cheerleader, color guard captain for the band, and student council representative. It was a lot of pressure to be in so many activities, and I think having a group of peers to share with would have been helpful. We could have benefitted from learning how to navigate conflict, communicate, and make better decisions.

 

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

I wish they knew that their opinions and thoughts matter. They should be an active participant in their health and treatment.

Jessica Lavender, MS, LPC-MHSP embrace U Administrator

Advice to My Younger Self: “Just like our name conveys, EMBRACE YOU! Embrace your uniqueness, your strengths, and your struggles. Embrace your recovery.”  


Years of Experience: Jessica has over 15 years of mental health experience. 

  • Master of Science, Professional Counseling – Lipscomb University
  • Bachelor of Science, Journalism, Spanish – Middle Tennessee State University


Why do you like working with adolescents?  

In my first role out of graduate school, I would say that adolescents chose me. No one else in the organization was passionate about adolescents, and as the new person, that is where I was needed. I quickly learned that I enjoyed finding creative ways to engage adolescents in learning skills. Opportunities continue to present themselves for me to continue growing my expertise in working with kids and families, and this is truly what I am meant to do. Now, as a parent, I connect with parents and enjoy guiding them when they are desperate to see their kids feel better.  


What is something you have learned from working with adolescents?  

Kids are resilient. The earlier we can help them learn to live more skillfully, the more likely they are to recover and live a healthy and happy life. 

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

I was a competitive equestrian rider and participated in theater at school. Yes, I felt tons of pressure, mostly self-imposed, as a true perfectionist. I have often wished I could have learned skills in group therapy as an adolescent to better cope with stressors and challenges.


What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

We want treatment to be enjoyable. We do our best to create an environment that you look forward to being in each day. Most of the time, adolescents are sad when they leave the program because of the connections and positive energy.  

Beth Siller, MMFT
Program Therapist

Advice to My Younger Self: “I would tell myself that there are resources out there, including expressive arts therapy, self-esteem building activities, and support in the community to know that I am not alone.”  

 

Years of Experience: Beth has four years of mental health experience and 16 years of experience in education.

  • Master of Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Marital and Family Therapy – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theater – Southern Connecticut State University

 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

Being an Early Childhood Development enthusiast, I have learned through my professional experience that if the foundation of secure attachments, healthy boundary-setting, and knowledge of coping skills/how to use them is not present throughout their formative years, the challenges of being an adolescent can be tough. Every child and young adult is worthy of having a safe space to explore their journey through adolescence with support, empathy, and empowerment. I strongly believe in being a part of that therapeutic system.

 

What is something you have learned from working with adolescents? 

Adolescents can thrive through the combination and balance of connection, belonging, self-expression, independence, and individualism. I have learned that validation, trust, and autonomy are crucial for the therapeutic relationship with my adolescent clients. Most adolescents just want to feel heard, seen, understood, and respected.

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

I was heavily engaged in the performing arts during those years. I acted, sang, and danced through plays, workshops, auditions, and theater groups. I was also deeply passionate about hair, makeup, and costuming. The stress and pressure came from the cliques who would behave in ways that were not inclusive and, at times, cruel. Managing the hardships at home, school, and outside of school was a lot for me to take on alone. Group therapy would have been incredibly beneficial at that time.

 

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

My wish for adolescents is for them to know that healing is possible. There are professionals out there who care deeply and can provide them with the tools necessary to feel safe, secure, and empowered.  

Hailey Mercer, LMSW
Program Therapist

Advice to My Younger Self: “When we feel hopeless or helpless, it is most valuable to speak up and talk to someone supportive- whether it be a friend, family member, therapist, or school counselor.”  

 

Years of Experience: Hailey has over four years of mental health experience.

  • Master of Social Work – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 

 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

Adolescents are extremely complex, especially in today’s times. I want to help them understand that their feelings are valid, meant to be heard, and not experienced alone. I want them to know that they matter and deserve to thrive. I have always enjoyed learning from my adolescents as much as I hope to help teach them.    

 

What is something you have learned from working with adolescents?  

Adolescents sometimes believe their feelings are not important enough to discuss and should be ignored, but that is not true. All feelings are meant to be experienced, and you must push through them instead of pushing them aside. I have learned that speaking up for yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do.  

   

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

I attended the Health Sciences Academy in high school, and it kick-started my passion to work in healthcare/mental health. I took both a sociology and psychology class, and it was a game changer. I experienced anxiety, school difficulties, and self-esteem issues during my adolescence. I had family and friends to rely on for support; however, I always felt pressure to perform and push through my feelings. Now, I see where mental health support would have helped me process my difficult emotions.  

  

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

Mental health and treatment can set a person up for long-term success. Mental health is just as important as physical health. If we break a bone, we go to the doctor; if we are struggling, we ask for help from the right resources. Getting help takes great courage, vulnerability, and dedication.  

Stephanie “Hope” Page, RN, BSN
Program RN

Advice to My Younger Self: “Life is full of experiences. It is important to learn the most you can from your experiences and the experiences of others.” 

 

Years of Experience: Hope has over 20 years of pediatric nursing experience.   

  • Registered Nurse License – University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – University of Mississippi Medical Center

 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

The adolescent population has specific issues and needs. Adolescence is a pivotal time in a person’s life, and as a nurse, it is an honor to work with them and impart good health practices for life-long wellness.  

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

When I was younger, I played softball and basketball. I strived to be the best on the team and to fit in with the crowd. I put a lot of pressure on myself until I learned that I did not need to prove myself to anyone. I learned that who I was as a person was enough. I wish there had been an opportunity to share with my peers in a group setting where we felt safe to talk about our insecurities and emotions when I was this age.  

 

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

I wish they understood that there are professionals who care about their well-being and have excellent resources for them.  

Whitney Shariati, LMFT
Office & Patient Coordinator

Advice to My Younger Self: “Cultivate the relationship you have with yourself and remember that YOU are the author of your story. Your tough experiences do not define you!” 

 

Years of Experience: Whitney has over four years of mental health experience. 

  • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling – Lipscomb University
  • Bachelor of Science in Family Relations – Lipscomb University

 

Why do you like working with adolescents?  

So many monumental experiences happen when you are a teen. I was fortunate to have a great support system around me during such important years, so I know what an incredible difference it makes. I am so excited to be a part of a program that helps adolescents learn skills to successfully navigate what they are encountering while providing them with a safe place to process their emotions and thoughts to understand themselves on a deeper level.  

 

What is something you have learned from working with adolescents?  

Adolescents are highly resilient and creative with ways to take care of themselves through hard experiences!  

 

Did you play any sports or participate in any activities when you were younger?  

In middle and high school, I was highly active! I was a cheerleader, was on the tennis team, and participated in my school chorus. With so much going on, it kept my schedule incredibly full, and with all of that on top of school responsibilities, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a high achiever. I know during that time, I would have benefitted from learning that while all those different activities were important, my worth was not defined by my achievements. 

 

What is one thing you wish adolescents understood about mental health?  

It is an act of self-love to equip yourself with resources and tools to navigate difficult things that life throws your way! There is true strength in recognizing that even when you can do it alone, you do not have to.