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What is Behavioral Health?

What is Behavioral Health?


Behavioral health is the connection between our behaviors and the health and well-being of our body, mind, and spirit.  Our behaviors and the choices we make each day – what we ingest, the activities we engage in, how we perceive the world around us – ultimately affect our overall health and wellness.   

Examples of behavioral health illnesses include substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, and addiction to a variety of other behaviors including, but not limited to exercise, sex, gambling, gaming, the internet, shopping, and work. 

Because behavior is something that is generally seen as changeable, people experiencing behavioral health issues can be empowered by knowing that their own choices can prevent, cure, or decrease symptoms of a variety of behavioral health disorders. However, even though relatively simple behavioral modification can translate to great improvements in overall health, the larger issue is often somewhat more complicated; at some point, the underlying causes of these maladaptive behaviors, frequently some type of physical and/or psychological trauma, frequently require additional and intensive attention and intervention to achieve long term recovery. 

While the terms “behavioral health” and “mental health”tend to overlap and tend to be used interchangeably, distinct differences do exist between the two. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines mental health as a person’s psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing.  And while some mental health issues may be impacted by behavior, many mental health disorders have neurological or biological causes, meaning that simply changing a person’s behavior may not cure them of that illness.  Some examples of mental health disorders include Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, Generalized anxiety, Social Anxiety, and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

If you or a loved one are seeking a behavioral health provider, it is important to note that SMA Healthcare provides counseling and medical interventions to treat both behavioral and mental illnesses.  SMA’s behavioral programs include crisis, residential, outpatient, medication and prevention services that focus on alcohol, opioids, and other drug misuse and dependence.  In addition, SMA has multiple programs focusing on criminal behavior, including rehabilitative programs for state prison and county jail inmates, and participants in Drug and DUI Courts.  SMA’s mental health programs include crisis, outpatient, medication, case management and prevention services for persons with severe mental illnesses including Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, Anxiety, and Major Depressive disorders.

All SMA programs are medically supervised by licensed physicians and clinically supervised by licensed social workers, mental health counselors or marriage and family therapists.