Behavioral Health refers to the impact of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that relate to wellness. There are many factors that contribute to the state of our behavioral health. Brain functioning, Environmental Factors, and Genetics are just a few of these important factors. For example, Environmental Factors include family and community support, housing, job status, and financial status. The status of our behavioral health directly relates to our wellness and physical health. Therefore, it is critical to address behavioral health to improve health outcomes in the community.
Problems with behavioral health are incredibly common and have most likely impacted all of us either directly or indirectly at some point in our lives. For example, most of you reading this now have experienced yourself or have known someone close to you who has struggled with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, substance use problems, or other mental health issues. Yet, there remains a stigma in our communities to recognize that these problems are occurring, and take the step of seeking help. To further complicate matters, it can be very discouraging to try to seek help for behavioral health problems and not know where to start, or how to know which types of services are best suited for the problem being experienced.
Healthy Chesapeake has prioritized addressing behavioral health issues in our Chesapeake communities, recognizing that if these difficulties are not addressed, we overlook a critical piece of the wellness puzzle. Healthy Chesapeake had identified a three pronged approach regarding behavioral health in our communities that relies upon meeting community members where they are.
The three prongs are:
- Identifying important behavioral issues by quantitative and qualitative measures
- Reducing stigma and empowering community members by increasing awareness and education of mental health and substance use issues
- Partnering with stakeholders to improve access and effectiveness of behavioral health services in Chesapeake. This may include system level political advocacy, group level agency and consumer collaborations, and individual level interventions