When considering mental health, many people fail to see the bigger picture. While it makes sense to focus on the cognitive aspect of mental health, mental health also includes emotional and behavioral health. These three parts – the mental, emotional, and behavioral – are interwoven when it comes to our psychological makeup. When issues of mental health and/or poor life style arise, these three aspects must be addressed together.
The Complexities of Overarching “Mental Health”
Of course, it is a major understatement to say that mental health is a complex subject with a lot of moving and intersecting parts. Unfortunately, this complexity is often what keeps people from understanding what mental health truly means for them and society.
Nevertheless, with a little bit of explanation, the basics of mental health are accessible to anyone. The key is to understand that mental health is not just the organ in our head, but an interaction of our whole mind-body system.
What Is Specific Mental Health?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides an overarching definition of mental health. “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” SAMHSA also states that “Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.” That statement encompasses the broader, more holistic concept of full mental health.
The “mental” part of the three parts of mental health (the other two being emotional, and behavioral health) on the other hand has to do with our cognitions – in other words, our thoughts. Essentially the mental portion of mental health is how we think about ourselves and others. It is also how we logistically and logically put things together.
So, when mental illness arises, it is often these logistics and logical thinking that become affected. Also, when our thinking becomes affected, that generally means our emotions become affected too. This is because the three parts of mental health have a symbiotic relationship.
What Is Emotional Health?
Our emotional health is best understood as how we feel. Our emotional selves are our feeling selves. This part of mental health is how we process the world around us and relate to it emotionally.
For example, when we are affected by some dynamic out in the world that upsets us, we don’t think about being mad. We are mad, which is because the emotional part of ourselves responds. This is the emotional part of mental health. Of course, as we can see even in that very basic example, it is impossible to be mad and not start to think about being mad as well. This is how intertwined the three parts of mental health are.
What Is Behavioral Health?
Essentially, behavioral health includes how we act and react to certain stimuli. However, it is important to note that not all of our actions constitute our behavioral health. Behavioral health has more to do with how we react to our emotions than anything else.
Take that very basic example from earlier. When we think we are mad and feel like we are mad, we are probably going to behave aggressively or withdraw. This is behavioral health. It is the actions we take that are associated with our emotional and mental health.
Our behavioral health is also generally the aspect of mental health that alerts us to any issues that may be going on. This makes sense as our actions are the most visible manifestations of mental or emotional turmoil.
The Importance of Treating Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Together
Now, because all of these parts are enmeshed, they all must be treated in tandem. To a degree, this is unavoidable anyway. When we work to control or avoid certain behaviors, we must work on how we think about those behaviors and the underlying emotions that may be causing those behaviors.
This is why psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be so effective at treating mental health. These therapies address the behaviors by first delving under the surface to find the emotions related to those behaviors.
When these emotions are discovered, we can then start to recognize how they affect our behavioral health. We can also think about our emotional-behavioral connection. Also, when this connection happens, we can begin to mitigate negative behaviors by recognizing the negative emotions before they intensify.
A Focus on Individualized Comprehensive Mental Health Care at Clearview Girls Academy
Yes, our mental, emotional, and behavioral health are interwoven. These aspects of ourselves are all also what makes us unique human beings.
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we understand the complexities of mental health. This is why we only create individualized and comprehensive recovery plans for our students. Mental health care is about a lot more than looking at the mind. It is about seeing the whole person as well.
Many people use the term “mental health” as a catch-all when describing behavioral issues. While this is understandable for those outside of the industry, it leaves out the critical issues of emotional and behavioral health. These aspects must be addressed for successful treatment. The fact of the matter is that mental, emotional, and behavioral health are all linked. Thus, they must all be treated simultaneously. If you feel like your daughter may be struggling with issues of mental health, we can help her recover and stay recovered. For more information on the intricate relationship between mental, emotional, and behavioral health and how all three can best be treated, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.