Behavioral health care focuses on an individual's psychological wellness. It is occasionally referred to as mental health care. However, the term behavioral health is more common now because it encompasses the biology of mental health, as well as a person's behaviors and habits.
Measuring Mental Health
How do you assess or understand your mental health? Looking at your emotional wellbeing and your overall life enjoyment on a day-to-day basis is an excellent guide. Consider the following:
- Are you able to cope with the normal stresses of life?
- Can you bounce back and adapt to unexpected news?
- Are activities like working, going to school, or forming relationships inhibited? If so, you might need to focus on improving your behavioral health.
Behavioral Health Issues and Signs
There are many contributors to mental health problems. Biological factors such as your genetics, life experiences, and a family history of mental health issues can lead to behavioral health problems. Some of the mental health issues people face might be depression, anxiety, trauma, relational issues, and addiction.
Signs of a potential behavioral health issue range in their severity. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns, withdrawing from activities and relationships, low energy, feeling hopeless, and numbness to life are all clues to a mental health problem. Also, mood swings, hearing voices or hallucinating, increased substance abuse, and thoughts of harming yourself or others are warnings signs. When a person is unable to complete daily life tasks, such as showering, getting out of bed, getting dressed, etc., they also might be struggling with a mental illness.
Professionals and Treatment Options
When it comes to behavioral health issues, you're not alone. There are numerous professionals who can help you overcome and adjust to life’s challenges. These might be your primary care physician or nurse practitioner, or a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
These professionals are skilled in a variety of behavioral health interventions that cover a broad spectrum. These range from psychotherapy and group therapy to support groups to expressive therapy in art, music, or drama. Recreational therapy, meditation, and mindfulness practices are also options, as is medication.
Good Mental Health Signs
When your mental health is functioning well there are several indicators. Setting and meeting goals, coping with stress, and problem solving are signs of healthy functioning, as is finding meaning in relationships and the community.
Whatever your current mental health you can benefit from practicing good behavioral health strategies. Some of the ways to maintain and/or improve your mental health might include connecting with others, being physically active, eating healthy, and getting proper rest. Developing strategies for dealing with life’s stressors, staying positive, and asking for help when needed are also healthy traits.
The Importance of Behavioral Health
Why is behavioral health such a critical issue? Half of the world’s population is believed to experience mental health symptoms that impact their day-to-day functioning. Our mental state impacts our physical health, so being able to reduce our body's stress responses can help us live longer and healthier lives. Another benefit of working on your mental health is the control you gain over your life. People who are mentally healthy are more goal-directed, and they function better in relationships.
Not addressing our behavioral health issues impacts all areas of life. Depression and other mental illnesses can lead to disability, physical impairments, and even suicide. Financial, social, and vocational issues may arise from failing to work on mental health problems.
Improving your mental health does not need to be overwhelming as there are many people available to guide you. The following tips suggest how to get started and where to go for help:
- Gather information: Talk to your doctor, friends, or other trusted individuals about resources in your area. Treatment options may be available through your physician’s office, mental health specialists, community mental health centers, hospital psychiatric departments, outpatient clinics, university programs, social services agencies, and employee assistance programs.
- Find affordable help: Don't allow cost to deter your mental health desires. There may be free support groups near you, and many counselors and therapists offer services on a sliding scale. Some university training clinics and community mental health centers facilitate individuals for free or at a low cost, or your work may have an employee assistance program through your employer or health insurance plan. If cost is a problem don't ever be afraid to ask professionals what free or low-cost options are available in the community.
A lifestyle complete with good mental health is possible for you and your loved ones. For more information about behavioral health care, check out the following websites: