While the terms ‘behavioral health’ and ‘mental health’ are often used interchangeably, they don’t always mean the same thing. Mental health focuses solely on a person’s psychological state, whereas behavioral health is a broader umbrella that can incorporate physical and mental struggles—eating habits, exercise routines, and alcohol consumption.
And given that seven out of ten patients in a doctor’s office are seeking care for a behavioral health related-issue, understanding the difference between the two terms is important.
Behavioral Health Defined
Behavioral health is defined as the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind and spirit. This includes a wide variety of healthcare services, including:
- Mental healthcare
- Psychiatric care
- Marriage and family counseling
- Substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery
- Management of chronic diseases
So while mental health related illnesses and treatments are a branch of behavioral health, they’re not the entire tree.
What’s the Relationship Between Behavioral Health and Mental Health?
The link between behavioral health and mental health varies from case to case, patient to patient. For example, people who suffer from diabetes or chronic cardiac conditions often develop depression as well. On the other hand, those who suffer from depression may have no outward physical signs of illness—making their treatment mental health-based, instead of behavioral. Regardless, many mental health conditions develop from biological factors—some manageable, like brain chemistry, and others out of our control, like genetic makeup. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medicine can often help alleviate immediate symptoms, but so too can something as simple as learning how to think in a healthier way regarding one’s mental illness.
Overall, the goals of behavioral health treatments are the same as any other branch of medicine: to aid in patients living healthier, fuller lives. Studies have shown that receiving both behavioral health and primary care treatment in an integrated setting has longer lasting, more effective results for patients. It often enables them to continue working or attend school, to better engage with their families, participate in their communities, and generally live a fulfilling life.
Regardless of your level of familiarity between the two, if your practice is searching for a well structured behavioral health EMR/EHR software, InSync Healthcare Solutions has the best in class, cloud-based solution for any practice size. It's highly configurable which means if you have forms you need included, we can do that. If you offer group therapy, our group therapy software is second to none in its ability to be configurable. If you need to prescribe medication to your patients, our e-prescribe and eMAR software modules can send and receive information securely so you can submit controlled substance prescriptions without worry. From therapy encounter notes, to telemedicine, to treatment plan reports, our mental health software has what your practice needs to stay healthy and grow. We even offer medical transcription and revenue cycle management services so that you can be sure your medical practice is in good hands.