Have you ever heard people describe recovering from substance addiction as behavioral health? Have you heard schizophrenia described as mental health? What about for all conditions the terms being used interchangeable. I am saying, although many similarities, they are different. After this two minute read, let me know your opinion - firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe, behavioral health broadly describes conditions and mental health narrows the described conditions. The term behavioral health can be all inclusive to mental health, substance addictions and other addictions affecting behavior.
Over a period in our lives, we have conjured a “mental health person” belief fallacy. For example: bipolar are crazy people, you can look and immediately recognize a depression sufferer or my favorite, I have never had mental health concerns, to name a few mental health fallacies. The broad behavioral health term is not without its down side, however.
The term is so broad it seems like a coin phrase. Another negative example comes from an Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W., M.P.H quote: “The frame of behavioral health places the individual to change, rather than examining and working to change external, environmental factors that influence an individual's well-being, such as poverty, discrimination, or abuse.” This was a very valid point.
Here would be a real life scenario: Child is born into generational poverty, with lack of educational and financially growth opportunity. Child is influenced by peers and adults in the neighborhood with similar resources. The lack of opportunity group(s) make illegal decisions. Because of those repeated decisions, its an health issue. Conversely, if there were quality educational and financial opportunities, illegal decisions likely would not have been made and the term behavioral health would not place all fault on individuals.
The question of why the terms are used interchangeably crosses my mind frequently. It is due to lack of education, is it not? It is due to behavioral health not having the same stigmatizing connotations as mental health, is it not? In any regard, I believe the clarification will cause for better communication and better understanding. What do you think?
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