Mental health services are frequently referred to as “Behavioral Health.” This does not mean that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental and emotional illnesses are simply behaviors or are simply caused by behavior! While behaviors including addictions, may signal a mental health issue, these types of illnesses are not a choice or a weakness in will power, but based in a physical reality.
Understanding this has helped to remove the stigma sometimes attached to mental health diagnoses. The helpful thing about the terminology, “behavioral health,” is that it does not compartmentalize physical health, mental, health, emotional health, and spiritual health, but presents a more holistic way of seeing the human person.
Treatment of the whole person begins with an assessment of total health. This is best done by a collaboration of treatment providers. This treatment often begins with a physical assessment to rule out specific physical elements contributing to the problem. Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, addiction specialists, and spiritual counselors may all be able to contribute to a treatment plan that will positively develop a lifestyle that supports health and wellness for the whole person,
It can take friend and family support to assemble a “board of directors” of sorts to decide on a plan of action that addresses the whole person to restore a loved one to health. Advocacy takes resolve and patience. A behavioral health approach can be that plan.