12 - Prevention and Public Health Perspective on Behavioral Health
Review articleOpen access

Publisher SummaryThe public health field takes a broad perspective on the health of the whole population. In addition to treatment, public health focuses on the etiology of health disorders, epidemiological surveillance of the health of the general population, disease prevention, health promotion, and access to and evaluation of the services provided to the public. There was a great deal of excitement about the potential of a public health approach to behavioral health, as prevention research advanced and behavioral health prevention became a national priority. Three milestone reports reflected the growing importance of behavioral health prevention for the national agenda in the United States. A public health perspective is needed to understand the context of behavioral health care. An adequate understanding of the behavioral health needs of the public cannot be obtained by focusing solely on treatment. Epidemiological, etiological, and preventive perspectives must also be applied to gain a broad understanding of the needs and circumstances of the public and the appropriate role of treatment providers in meeting those needs.

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