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MENTAL HEALTH SHOULDN’T BE CALLED “BEHAVIORAL HEALTH”

By James A. Marples
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I watched the several 2024 “State of the State” addresses by various state governors.  One that particularly stood out, was the speech given by Maine’s governor, by Governor Janet Mills.  I heard her say that she wants increased funds and resources for Mental Health to help those in a crisis.  I completely support that endeavor.  However, I didn’t like the governor interspersing “Mental Health” with “Behavior Health”.  To me, “behavioral” is a misnomer.  It may be behavior if someone is a chronic chain-smoker or heavy drinker. It is their choice; a compulsion.  They choose to do that.  However, let’s say someone has severe chronic anxiety and their tremors are so intense they can barely walk. Now, that isn’t a behavior.  That is an entirely different matter.  That is involuntarily.  It may be inherited or environmentally induced.That is an instance for either a psychologist, psychiatrist or neurologist — or perhaps all three.  I hope the governor will drop the label “behavioral health” and curtail her own habits.

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