The terms "behavioral health" and "mental health" are often used interchangeably. But, do they really mean the same thing? I've made two short lists below as I've tried to work out what's good, and not so good, about the term "behavioral health, " and am very curious to hear what you think.
Three things I like about the term behavioral health:
-It's a way of being inclusive. Behavioral health includes not only ways of promoting well-being by preventing or intervening in mental illness such as depression or anxiety, but also has as an aim preventing or intervening in substance abuse or other addictions.
-Perhaps the term "behavioral health" is less stigmatized than "mental health, " so a kinder, gentler name opens doors that might otherwise remain closed for folks.
-Behavior is an aspect of identity that can be changed, so "behavioral health" might be a more hopeful concept for those who experience mental illness or addiction and who may have felt that these diseases were permanent parts of their lives.
Three things I don't like about the term behavioral health:
-The frame of behavioral health places the onus on 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.
-Finally, "behavioral health" seems like a concept that was created by someone who works for an insurance company, rather than someone who has struggled with mental health issues.
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