A field of great significance

The pace of change in the field of behavioral health has accelerated in light of COVID-19 and its accompanying health and well-being crises. There have been spikes in anxiety, depression and other behavioral health issues as people navigate the unique complexities of our current moment in time. These spikes are extensions of a long-simmering crisis in global behavioral health.

What is behavioral health?

Behavioral health services focus on an individual’s daily habits, behaviors and actions that can affect that person’s mental health. Physical and mental health disorders, including mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders, are the leading causes of distress and disability among the general population.

Behavioral health problems can also be more prevalent in certain populations, such as children, the elderly, minorities, individuals with low incomes and veterans. These populations may encounter additional barriers to accessing behavioral health services, so it’s important that culturally- and linguistically-appropriate services are available to them.

Like everything else, healthcare is going digital

In recent years, the behavioral health field has increasingly utilized technology for a variety of reasons, including more efficient and cost-effective treatment options, increased accessibility and better data collection and analysis in order to help develop and improve treatment methods.

Why a multifaceted approach is needed

While technology can play a valuable role in providing access to care and resources, it should not be the sole focus. Social interaction and support are also critical aspects of behavioral health, since human connection and encouragement can be powerful tools in nurturing wellness and recovery. A balanced approach that includes both technological and social support is likely to be the most effective in addressing behavioral health issues.

One in six children aged 2–8 years has a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016

At any given time, 20% of the working-age population in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are affected by mild to moderate disorders.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016

Between 25% and 45% of patients admitted to the hospital for medical care have one or more behavioral and mental health (BMH) comorbidities.

Druss & Walker, 2011