Are We Clear About Mental Health and Behavioral Health?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

After the pandemic, the importance that mental health has for us became even more evident. Commonly, we try to seek treatments and specialists that help us calm our anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc., to have a better emotional wellbeing. However, there are many concepts within this world of psychology and psychiatry that are not clear. For example, do we know if mental health is the same as behavioral health?

To start with, Alvernia University gives us a very good definition of behavioral health [1] : “describes the connection between behaviors and the health and wellbeing of the body, mind and spirt. This would include how behaviors like eating habits, drinking or exercising impact physical or mental health.” On the other hand, the World Health Organization[LP2]  (WHO) defines mental health as a “state of mental wellbeing that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.”

How do these terms differ? The University of Massachusetts [3]  affirms, “Unsurprisingly, behavioral health has more to do with the specific actions people take. It is about how they respond in various scenarios. Two people who are experiencing similar emotions may react in very different ways. Mental health, on the other hand, has more to do with thoughts and feelings. It is pretty specific to biological factors that influence our mental state”.

“The link between behavioral health and mental health conditions –and the way the two are or are not manifested- varies from patient to patient. For example, people suffering from diabetes or chronic cardiac conditions often develop depression and anxiety that is outwardly clear. On the other hand, those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder may have no outward physical signs of illness- making their treatment mental health-based instead of behavioral [4] ”.

Then, it is important to rescue as mentioned the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality [5] :

“Many studies have demonstrated that high-quality mental and behavioral health care may often be delivered in primary care settings. Because mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorders are among the most common conditions seen in primary care settings and frequently occur with other medical problems, primary care providers are often in the best position to identify, diagnose, and treat them. A primary care practice will not reach its full potential without adequately addressing patients’ mental health needs.”

In conclusion, mental health and behavioral health are closely related concepts that refer to the overall wellbeing of an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social functioning. Both are critical components of wellness, and they can have a significant impact on a person’s ability function, their relationship with others and their quality of life.

So, if you need support in your mental health and behavioral health, please do not doubt to contact Neighbors’ Consejo [6] , all our services are free and our team is ready to listen and guide you to have a better emotional wellbeing.








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