Behavioral Health Overview


Group counseling photo

Behavioral health includes both mental health and substance use disorders. Research from the National Alliance on Mental Illness determined one in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness, and Mental Health America reports substance use disorders affect nearly 8% of adults and youth. States provide and oversee behavioral and public health services in a variety of ways. Services and duties provided by the public and behavioral health departments are often not visible until there is a problem like a hepatitis-A outbreak or a spike in opioid-related overdoses. Leveraging and sharing resources including data, finances and partnering across health systems may improve the way behavioral health services are delivered and overall community health.

Resources below highlight numerous ways policymakers and health departments are working to connect behavioral health and public health in states. Additional resources address behavioral health services and treatment in special populations including children and those in the justice system.

Connecting Behavioral Health and Public Health

Behavioral Health Services, Treatment and Populations

2021 NCSL & National Council's Behavioral Health Training Institute

Other Related NCSL Resources

Other Resources

The links and resources are provided for information purposes only. NCSL does not endorse the views expressed in any of the materials linked from this page.

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $250,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.