Mental Health vs. Behavioral Health: How Are They Similar and Different?

Comparing mental health vs. behavioral health might be difficult without the right information. That’s why this post outlines similarities and differences between both terms along with other related, vital information.

While poor sleep patterns and poor dieting might directly affect our well-being, we must consider other elements for total health. Neglecting our mental health vs. behavioral health might trigger several challenges powerful enough to impact people’s well-being negatively.

If you’re focused to better understand your psychological health better or help others develop theirs, knowing how mental and behavioral health differ or relate is essential.

In this article, you will get relevant information about mental health and behavioral health. Their differences, similarities and other vital details are spelled out in this post. Discovering these similarities and differences makes it easy to identify conditions linked to declining mental or behavioral health.

Mental Health

Good mental health refers to an individual’s social and psychological well-being. Humans will find it difficult to think, feel, and react without having proper mental health. Mental health also helps us relate with others, manage stress, and deal with challenging situations without being overwhelmed.

Poor mental health leads to a steady decline in an individual’s potential and can kick in at any age.

Read ON: How To Cope With Current Events Anxiety

Behavioral Health

Good behavioral health is the connection between our physical and mental health. The connection usually determines how we perform regular activities and its impact on our mental or physical wellbeing.

Poor behavioral health leads to a disconnect between the physical and mental health capacity of humans. Ignoring poor behavioral health symptoms might lead to the emergence of significant symptoms.

The discipline that deals with the treatment and counselling of mental health-related conditions is described as behavioral health care.

The care practice helps provide psychiatric, addictions, marriage and psychological health counselling to patients.  Other forms of behavioral health also deal with providing intervention, prevention treatments and support services for people suffering from mental health challenges.

Similarities between Mental Health vs. Behavioral Health

Few common symptoms

Few shared symptoms of behavioral and mental health decline exist. For example, mental and behavioral health challenges might cause depression in people.

Other shared symptoms might be an indication of combined mental and behavioral health problems in some patients. However, unique symptoms between both disorders are more than the shared signs.

Shared term

A common similarity between behavioral health vs. mental health is that both terms can mean the same thing. But it’s worth noting that some contexts might not accommodate defining mental health as behavioral health.

Behavioral health is an umbrella term that encompasses much more than a person’s behavior. However, mental health refers to a person’s ability to process and react to information in full and without assistance.

Also See: 7 Critical Ways Mental Health Therapy Is An Essential Component Of Successful Rehab

Differences between Mental Health vs. Behavioral Health

Mental health and behavioral health are used interchangeably but these terms have several notable differences. Some of the most obvious differences are:

Difference 1: Different conditions

Mental health conditions differ greatly from what people with behavioral health problems experience.

Mental health conditions

Some of the most common illnesses that can affect someone’s mental health are:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Constant feelings of uneasiness is a common symptom of GAD. The persistent feeling of unease is enough to interfere with anyone’s daily activities. Leaving this disorder unattended can lead to incessant panic attacks, disorderliness, and poor cognition.


Mild depression could be an obvious sign of deteriorating mental health in humans. Acute mental health problems could deepen the symptoms of depression and spread to include emptiness and low self-worth.

Some common causes of depression might be economic, post-partum (after childbirth) or seasonal. All forms of depression can disrupt routines and negatively affect their physical well-being.

See This: Tips to Manage Your Mental Health


Some common symptoms of schizophrenia are not easy to notice in its initial stage. However, prolonged exposure to schizophrenia could cause the following:

  • Hallucinations,
  • Repetitive thoughts,
  • Memory problems,
  • Delusion, etc.

These symptoms might also be linked with signs of depression in some people with serious mental health problems.

Bipolar disorder

Bouts of mania and prolonged hyperactivity are common signs of very poor mental health. Different levels of bipolar disorders exist, and identical symptoms are difficult to spot in different patients.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Sustained exposure to traumatic situations might cause people to develop PTSD. Disorderliness is one of the most common symptoms in a person suffering from this condition.

Behavioral health conditions

Eating disorders

Overeating or under-eating might be common in individuals suffering from behavioral disorders. Changes to an individual’s eating pattern could degenerate to cause obesity, burnout, and acute stress.

Malnourishment, digestive disorders and other issues can also affect people with such health conditions.

Gambling problems

Behavioral disorders can stimulate a dopamine rush capable of increasing the risk to lead risky habits. Getting addicted to gambling and other risky ventures is a common sign of behavioral health problems.


Prolonged isolation might cause feelings of low self-worth and depression. Some people might resort to self-harm while in deep depression. Self-harm symptoms left unattended in a person could lead to successful suicide.

Drug abuse/alcoholism

Self-medicating to solve health problems might degenerate to cause behavioral disorders. Substance or alcohol abuse might be prevalent among people with behavioral health problems.

More Reading: 5 Reasons Why Online Therapy Has Helped So Many People

Difference 2: Unique therapy

Medical management of mental health conditions are different from therapy used to solve behavioral health issues.

Common therapy for mental health disorders

  • Mental health-related social care
  • Group/individual psychosocial care
  • Mental health psychiatry

Common therapy for behavioral health problems

  • Substance abuse counselling
  • Behavioral psychology care
  • Clinical psychology
  • Addiction psychiatry

However, some mental and behavioral health conditions might require a combination of methods applicable to each.

Difference 3: Scope

Behavioral health conditions largely become dominant through sociological or external factors. However, mental health disorders are usually dominant because of physiological or psychological factors.


Understanding the differences and similarities between mental and behavioral health makes it easy to recommend effective medication and therapy.

Some of the most advanced mental or behavioral health disorders can receive proper management, but professional assistance is essential. Since both disorders have more differences than similarities, it could be easy for an experienced healthcare practitioner to solve.

More Mental Health: Good Mental Health vs. Bad Mental Health: An Overview

Dave P
Dave P
Be a little better today than yesterday.
Stay Connected

Read On