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Behavioral health is the relationship between behavior and health. This relationship can be seen in physical, mental and spiritual health. It encompasses all services provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and physicians.

Those with behavioral health conditions are more likely to end up in the emergency department than other patients because they have nowhere else to go. Because behavioral health patients often require lengthy hospital stays, trying to accommodate them can be tricky.

Behavioral health is an umbrella term covering various conditions that affect cognition, emotion or behavior. Examples include mood and anxiety disorders, certain eating disorders and substance use disorders. These conditions can be caused by biological factors, psychological factors, environmental factors or a combination of these factors.

In the emergency department, behavioral health patients comprise a unique patient population, and the ability to manage their care may be difficult due to the absence of diagnostic tests that can be used to determine the course of treatment. Provided below are some resources that will assist emergency nurses in providing appropriate care for this patient population.

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