What Is Behavioral Health?
Behavioral health refers to how healthy a person is when it comes to the behaviors they demonstrate on a daily basis. For example, smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the United States because this behavioral habit can cause a number of serious, life-threatening diseases. These diseases include cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat and pancreas. Smoking can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
To avoid these ghastly diseases and a life of coughing, asthma and chest pain, the smoking behavior is what needs to change. Helping someone change their behaviors is behavioral health, and it can come in many different forms. Most of this realm of healthcare has to do with changing lifestyle habits and behaviors in order to take advantage of preventative health. Preventing disease is universally regarded as a much better way of taking care of health than treating diseases after the fact.
Treating physical health vs. focusing on mental health
Even though Americans all over the U.S. are seriously concerned about gun laws following the dozens of mass shootings that have plagued the country, others are more concerned with the inner workings of the minds of the individuals who have committed these heinous acts. In this way, mental health is coming more to the forefront.
In reality, however, mental health for Americans has been a concern for many doctors, healthcare workers and individuals and families for a very long time. The healthcare reform that we have seen so far in the nation has been aimed at physical care, preventative measures to stave off disease and injury and lowering the costs of medication. To be sure, many individuals, have benefited greatly from healthcare reform that has already occurred in the U.S. However, more needs to be done to offer wider more options for individual and family behavioral health care.
Mass health care reform can and should make behavioral health a priority
As the government continues to try to strengthen the healthcare system, many healthcare workers are pushing for a reform on behavioral health. Doctors, therapists and counselors are often those charged with helping individuals and families change their behaviors and habits. This includes helping individuals change the ways they eat, exercise and cope with stress.
Behavioral health also includes addictions of all kinds. For example, addictions to all drugs and alcohol, including cocaine, heroin, meth and others, can be treated successfully with therapy and behavioral health treatments.
Unfortunately, many individuals who are addicted to illicit substances cannot pay for the expenses of behavioral healthcare treatment. They may be able to get a physical or dental care, but getting in to see a psychologist is not possible simply because of the costs associated with this kind of care. Mass health care reform needs to focus on behavioral health in order to help individuals like these.
Behavioral health care affects physical health
One thing that many individuals don’t realize when it comes to healthcare is that it’s not simply limited to getting physical exams, surgeries and taking medication when it is prescribed by a doctor. Instead, much their quality of life is connected to what’s going on in their minds. It has to do with the tasks they do on a daily basis and how they react when life becomes difficult.
If a person turns to alcohol every time they feel anxious, they’re going to run into serious trouble eventually. Healthcare reform should aim to bring more behavioral health services to everyone so that both physical and mental needs are met.