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Behavioral Health: Understanding Why Behavioral Health Matters

Since the pandemic elevated the public awareness of behavioral health, organizations are increasingly including behavioral health treatment as part of a holistic plan of care. This person-centered approach requires organizations to care for individuals as a whole person, with an integrated set of treatments that address physical conditions alongside behavioral and social determinants of health. Accelerating this integration of behavioral and physical healthcare will ultimately create a better treatment protocol that improves health outcomes.  

What is Behavioral Health?  

Behavioral health encompasses a wide range of conditions and concerns relating to a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and social interactions that contribute to an individual’s overall wellness. Behavioral health can comprise:

  • Mental, emotional, and social well-being in which factors like stress, anxiety, depression, and more can affect a person’s ability to cope with life’s challenges in a healthy and constructive manner
  • Cognitive functioning encompassing thinking, learning, memory, perception, and problem solving that can contribute to conditions such as dementia or cognitive impairment
  • Substance use disorders (SUDs) that can lead to significant behavioral and physical health problems
  • Addictive behaviors to activities such as gambling, gaming, and more
  • Eating disorders that affect a person’s relationship with food, body image, and overall well-being
  • Social interactions and relationships, including how individuals interact with others and navigate social situations
  • Trauma and PTSD where coping with a traumatic event can impact an individual’s mental and emotional wellness

Treating Behavioral Health as Part of a Holistic Approach to Care

Because behavioral health is intricately connected with physical health, issues with one can lead to problems with the other. Ignoring behavioral health can exacerbate physical conditions and hinder or prolong recovery.

By addressing behavioral health as part of a holistic approach to care, organizations can help the people they serve make choices and develop techniques to manage behavioral issues that can affect their welfare and stand in the way of good health outcomes. Benefits include:

  • Improved adherence to treatment plans, such as taking prescribed medication, attending therapy, and making lifestyle changes
  • Enhanced coping mechanisms that help people deal with stress, illness, and life challenges so they are more resilient and can better manage chronic conditions
  • Prevention and management of co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression that are commonly seen alongside chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease
  • Early intervention for mental health conditions to prevent escalation to more serious, harder-to-treat issues
  • Improved quality of life that can affect an individual’s relationships, work, daily life, and overall happiness
  • Reduced health costs from physical conditions that are made worse by behavioral health issues or risky behavior
  • Healthier lifestyles from promoting positive behaviors such as exercise and balanced nutrition and avoiding negative behaviors such as substance abuse
  • Empowerment and self-advocacy that enables individuals to take an active role in their own health

Read our blog: Integrated Behavioral Health—The Time Is Now

Behavioral Health Management Improves Health Equity

Fragmented and uncoordinated healthcare and social service systems compound underlying social, economic, and environmental inequities and make it more difficult to address the totality of medical, behavioral, and psycho-social issues an individual brings to the healthcare system. This is especially true for complex populations, including Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and dual-eligible populations. Integrating behavioral health with physical and social determinants as part of a whole-person approach can provide the collaborative, patient-centered care needed to address the factors that affect an individual’s well-being and quality of life and reduce disparities in healthcare.

Key concerns include:

  • Access to care—Behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use treatment, must be accessible to all individuals, regardless of their background, socioeconomic status, or geographic location
  • Stigma and discrimination—Marginalized communities may face higher levels of stigma related to behavioral health issues, leading to delayed or inadequate treatment
  • Social determinants of health—Behavioral health is closely linked to social determinants such as housing stability, employment, education, and access to healthy food, and other factors such as insurance coverage, transportation challenges, and financial constraints can serve as significant barriers to accessing care
  • Trauma—Communities that face socioeconomic challenges or systemic inequalities may be more likely to experience trauma, which can have long-lasting effects on behavioral health
  • Cultural competency in care—Culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate behavioral health care is essential for addressing the unique needs of diverse populations

Read our blog: Connecting with the Community to Enable Whole-Person Care and Support Health Equity

Behavioral Health | InfoMC

InfoMC has spent decades building innovative ways to integrate behavioral health as part of whole-person care. We offer an end-to-end, person-centered behavioral health management platform, called Incedo, that enables organizations to administrate and address behavioral health conditions and integrate treatment with medical and social determinants of health that supports a holistic approach to care and improves health equity.

Learn more about why Incedo can help you meet your behavioral health management goals.

If you have any questions, please contact us today!


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