While many of us working in the substance abuse field have long-recognized the value of prevention, placing this work in the context of overall behavior health requires a critical shift in perspective. Applying a behavioral health lens to our current prevention efforts helps us to see the connections between substance abuse and related problems and to take the necessary steps to address these problems in a comprehensive and collaborative way.
Behavioral health is a state of mental/emotional being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness. Substance abuse and misuse are one set of behavioral health problems. Others include (but are not limited to) serious psychological distress, suicide, and mental illness (SAMHSA, 2011). Such problems are far-reaching and exact an enormous toll on individuals, their families and communities, and the broader society. Consider these statistics:
Developed under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies contract (Reference #HHSS277200800004C).