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Define Behavioral Health… Please!
BCBSIL looks at behavioral health as a big umbrella. The first way any of us detects a “problem” in ourselves or anyone else is if we or they behave differently than what we each consider “normal.” Each of these words inspires its own debate. One person’s problem is often another person’s normal.
Behaviors are things like:
Experts have often debated the meaning and use of the terms behavioral health and mental health. Search and you will find many points of view. The words themselves bring up images ranging from fanciful nanny tales to chilling news stories. Still neither extreme quite fits. We all live somewhere in between over the course of our lives. It’s called being human.
When to Get Help
Drawing that line in the sand between “going through a rough patch” or “that’s just the way they roll” and “time to get some help” can be very personal. If a person’s behavior could hurt them or anyone else, that line draws itself. Sometimes a person sees the issue in themselves and reaches out. Sometimes it takes family or friends or even acquaintances speaking up. Less obvious lines to draw come down to things like whether a person:
We Must Ask Why
Think about it: do any of these things influence how you behave sometimes?
What makes a person tick?
Then Comes Who and What
When we start to figure out why a person is behaving a certain way, then different providers and treatments may apply. Like with any other health concern, you should talk with your PCP first. They may know you well enough to have insights about your issue that a specialist might not know, and you might not think of. From that point, you may be referred to one of several types of behavioral health care providers. They all have a common core education in behavioral health, but they offer different services for different needs:
As with any form of specialty care, check your policy to confirm what services are covered, and be sure whoever you see is in your health plan’s provider network.
No Coverage but Needs Help? DON’T WAIT.
Know someone who needs help now and doesn’t have coverage yet? Here are a few resources where you may find information and help:
Have a question or idea about behavioral health?
We’d like to know, what would you want to read about next about behavioral health?
Originally published April 22, 2016; Revised 2020
I admired all the social workers. They help diagnose and do therapy, but are also trained to connect patients with various community resources just as they did to me years ago.
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