What Is a Behavioral Health Center and What Do They Treat?

We’re seeing an unprecedented surge in mental health issues affecting people in the United States and the world over. That makes the need to answer the common question ‘what are behavioral health services’ all the more pressing as there’s a deficit in treatment while the prevalence of mental illnesses and mental health conditions increases. 

Consider that a CDC report found that, during a sample week in late January 2021, 23.8% of people with symptoms of a depressive or anxiety disorder had unmet mental health needs, an increase of 2.8% from August.  

With mental health and substance abuse issues already spiking due to difficulties brought on by COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown, understanding behavior health services can be a huge benefit to both patients and practitioners. 

For patients, it will help them access the treatment they need to deal with their conditions. 

For practitioners, it means having patients be able to self-identify their issues and seek appropriate treatment right from the start, saving time. What’s more, it means a potential for higher patient engagement (something that can improve patient outcomes and is helped along with advancements in technology, which is highlighted below). 

All this to say that we need to understand the behavioral health services definition so we can tackle mental health issues. 

Behavioral Health Services Definition and What They Treat

We understand the growing need for mental health services; now it’s time to understand the common terms of behavioral health. 

Behavioral health services have two primary definitions. 

The first more commonly applied one is that behavioral health is often used interchangeably with mental health. In other words, a behavioral health professional is also a mental health professional and vice versa. 

If you take that approach (one used by the CDC, WHO, APA), then mental health and behavioral health are considered to be, for all intents and purposes, one and the same. That means they can help treat:

  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Depressive disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorders

Among other illnesses.

The second, less common definition, makes a distinction between behavioral health disorders and mental health disorders by limiting behavioral health treatments to ones that apply directly to the things you do, while mental health is concerned with how you feel

Using that definition, behavioral healthcare would help treat:

  • Substance abuse
  • Gambling addictions 
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Long-term behavioral issues impacting marriage and family

No matter how you define it, accessing behavior health services can help a patient with their mental as well as their physical health problems (the two are often tied together). 

Now that we can answer ‘what is a behavioral health center and what does it do’, let’s take a look at some important innovations in the sector that are helping to improve patient outcomes. 

Technological Advancements Improving Behavioral Health Outcomes


Technological advancements in care and access are making it easier to achieve positive patient outcomes. 

As mentioned at the top, technology is helping improve patient engagement, which is, in turn, letting patients access more effective treatment (see links below for more on this topic). 

Technology lets health organizations manage their practices online, helping providers keep data safe and accessible. This reduces waste, makes things simpler and more intuitive for patients, and otherwise expedites the treatment process, benefiting both providers and patients. 

With mental health issues on the rise but with physical contact difficult due to COVID-19, virtual healthcare and telemedicine have become vital to delivering treatment without putting people at risk of infection. What’s more, for certain mental health issues, online treatment is actually preferable as patients can sometimes find it easier to communicate online versus in person. 

Supporting Your Clinic or Practice in Delivering Superior Care for Patients

We’ve answered ‘what are behavioral health services’, now it’s time to start delivering them to patients as fast and effectively as possible.

In other words, you need Adracare

We supply all-in-one telehealth and practice management software to support your healthcare organization’s internal management and external service delivery. 

This in turn makes things faster, less prone to error, easier for both patients and providers, and can otherwise help boost your organization’s revenue while reducing expenses.  

Try Adracare free today or get in touch to learn more about how we can support your healthcare organization and help patients achieve better outcomes.