What is Behavioral Health?!
The next time you visit your doctor, glance around the waiting room. Of the 10 people reading the old magazines, seven are there to seek care for issues related to behavioral health. They might have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. They might need to change behaviors to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiac conditions. They might have a drinking or drug use problem that is affecting their health and relationships. They might want to lose weight or to quit smoking.
That prompts the question….
“What is behavioral health?“
“Behavioral health” often is used to describe the connection between our behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. This includes behaviors such as eating habits, drinking, or exercising that either immediately or over time impact physical or mental health. It can also include broader factors such as having to live in an area with high pollution or experiencing high levels of stress over a long period of time.
Some of these behaviors are under our individual control. However, sometimes our choices are limited by factors beyond our immediate control, such as pollution by a nearby factory. For example, obesity is affected by my personal choices of what I eat. However, if I live in an inner city neighborhood where it would be dangerous for me to walk or where I had no access to a grocery store where I could buy fresh fruits or vegetables, it might be more difficult to control my weight.
The definition of “Behavioral Health” is as follows;
Behavioral health is the scientific study of the emotions, behaviors and biology relating to a person’s mental well-being, their ability to function in everyday life and their concept of self. “Behavioral health” is the preferred term to “mental health.”
Behavioral Health services include but are not limited to prevention programs, outpatient therapy, psychiatric services, emergency and crisis intervention, and foster care services.