Integrated Behavioral Healthcare is an emerging field within the wider practice of high-quality, coordinated health care. In the broadest use of the term, “integrated behavioral health care” can describe any situation in which behavioral health and medical providers work together.
The care a patient experiences as a result of a team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population.
Integrated Behavioral Health Care
This care may address mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic medical illnesses), life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.
According to the 2006 report, Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness by NASMHPD, released by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), people suffering from serious mental illnesses die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. The causes are largely preventable: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.
Importance of Behavioral Health
Historically, access to primary care has been limited for this population for a variety of reasons. In order to eliminate this critical disparity, integrated health and primary care must work together to ensure access to treatment.
There is no health without mental health; and there is no mental health without health