Behavioral Health Services

Updates from Sherry L. Lee, Behavioral Health Issue Chair

Definition of Behavioral Health (12/23/16) The term behavioral health is an interdisciplinary science often used interchangeably with mental health. However, there are differences.

Mental health is the psychological state of a person who holistically functions at a satisfactory level. In conditions of mental illness the outcome is not usually changed by changing behavior, but rather by use of medications. In comparison, behavioral health can be improved by changes in behavior. The latter provides a more positive aspect because it indicates that adverse behaviors can be changed for more healthful behaviors. Behavioral health promotes the well being of the individual through the intervention and prevention of incidents of mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Therefore, the term behavioral health provides a broader and less stigmatized view of mental illness and the resulting unsatisfactory behaviors by the individual. Improving the mental illness of an individual may involve not only the use of medications and therapies, but also changes in inappropriate or self destructive behaviors by the individual. Mental illness is usually detected and/or diagnosed by the unsatisfactory behaviors of the individual.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Report on U.S. increased Suicide Rate (8/15/16)

In April 2016 "Mental Health America of Texas (MHAT) issued a press release in response to the CDC report that revealed there was a 24% increase in the number of suicides in the U.S. from 1999 to 2014.

What you can do today!

  • Educate yourself about the warning signs for suicide
  • Know how to refer someone at risk for help. Use the Texas Suicide Prevention Toolkit  to find answers!
  • Put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number in your cell phone: 1-800- 273-8255.
  • Your county community mental health center provides suicide crisis services and has a 24/7 crisis hotline. Find your County Mental Health Center on the Texas Department of State Health Services website

Read the full MHAT Press Release 


2017 Testimony

2013 Testimony

Coalitions and Resources

LWV-TX Position Behavioral Health

LWV US Position

Issue Studies and Explanation

League delegates to the 1987 state Convention adopted a new study of the state mental health and mental retardation system, with emphasis on persons who are seriously mentally ill. There was excellent participation in the study with 75% of local Leagues responding. The consensus indicated strong support for access to a range of high-quality services by Texans with serious mental illness, and public education regarding serious mental illness to combat stigma and discrimination against persons who suffer from it. The position on services for the seriously mentally ill was adopted in November 1988.