Let's have an open talk about mental health

Talking about depression, anxiety or other problems that may affect your behavioral health (also called mental health) isn’t always easy. But let’s start the conversation. If you or a loved one may be dealing with these issues, you’re not alone. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults are dealing with some kind of behavioral health issue1. Learning how to talk about and understand your mental health issues may be the first step in recovery. Then, you may learn ways to cope and start feeling better.

What is behavioral health (mental health)?

Behavioral health (or mental health) is the term used to describe a number of problems that may affect your mental wellbeing. When we talk about behavioral health, it includes stress, anxiety, depression, mood disorders or other psychological issues. Behavioral health disorders may also include things like substance use disorders, eating disorders, or psychotic disorders.

Taking care of your behavioral health is important for your overall health. Your emotional state may impact your physical health, too. If you’re struggling, seeking treatment may help you feel better so you can live a healthier life.

How do behavioral health problems start?

Each person has their own story. Worries, emotions and feelings are personal. Behavioral health problems may come up any time, and at any age – even in children. Sometimes there may be a higher risk if there’s been abuse2 or trauma3 in your past. There may be a higher risk of behavioral health issues if you have a family history of mental health disorders.4

Biological, social, emotional, and environmental factors may also contribute to mental health issues. Some mental health issues, like depression, may happen because of a chemical imbalance in the brain.5 Even social problems like bullying may affect our mental health and how we may deal with day-to-day life.6

Caring professionals are available to help. You can connect with behavioral health specialists to help you handle problems like these:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety or stress

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Anger management

  • Coping with grief or loss

  • Marital problems

  • Domestic violence

  • Eating disorders

  • Compulsive spending or gambling

Here are common signs of behavioral health problems

Some of these signs may not be easy to spot, and some may be harder to notice than others. If you see some of these signs, it may be your signal that it’s time to get help.

  • Eating or sleeping too much or not enough

  • Losing interest in people and activities

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Aches and pains

  • Drinking alcohol too much or using drugs

  • Irritability and anger

  • Feeling depressed

  • Thoughts of harming oneself or others

  • Thoughts of suicide

While these may be some clues to look for, this list doesn’t cover it all. Be aware and ask for help when things may not be getting better. Asking for help may be your most important step in taking care of yourself.

You can learn more by checking mentalhealth.gov. It has a longer list of behavioral and mental health concerns and helpful information about each.

Here are more details about common behavioral health problems. You may want to talk to a professional if these problems sound like issues you may be dealing with.


Depression isn’t just feeling down. If you or a loved one struggle with depression, you may be aware that it’s a serious problem. But there may be ways to cope and feel better. Counseling and medication may help, as well as other resources. Learn more about depression and how to get help.


We all may deal with stress, but what if it gets to be too much? Learn ways to help stay in better balance when life may get stressful, whether that’s at school, work or at home.


Feeling nervous or anxious may seem like a regular part of life — but when it interrupts your daily activities, it may  be a bigger issue. Learn how to know if it may be time to reach out for help. 

Behavioral health support and resources

If you need help right away – for yourself or a loved one – call 911 or use the emergency numbers below.

Substance Use Helpline1-855-780-5955

If you feel that you or a loved one are experiencing signs of addiction, call the confidential helpline to get support, guidance on treatment options, help finding a network provider and answers to your questions.

National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Get help with crisis intervention, information and referrals to local services for victims of domestic violence and those calling on their behalf.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255 | 1-800-799-4889 (TTY)

If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, get emergency help right away. Contact the lifeline for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or loved ones. You can also find 24/7 support through an online chat called Lifeline Chat.

The Crisis Text LineText “Home” to 741741

The Crisis Text Line is a free resource available 24/7 to help you connect with a crisis counselor.

If you are a UnitedHealthcare member, learn what may be available to you for behavioral health benefits and support.