Behavioral Health Integration

What is behavioral health and primary care integration?

Integrated behavioral health care is “the care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with [individuals] and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide [person-centered] care for a defined population. This care may address mental health and substance use conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic health conditions), life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.”[1]

A continuum-based approach for integrating care allows practices at any stage of integration to assess and advance their integration efforts. Organizations that move along the integration continuum may be able to improve the quality of care they provide to clients while increasing the efficiency of care delivery and reducing health spending for specific target populations.

Why integrate behavioral health care?

Fragmented delivery of care can be problematic for clients requiring a wide variety of services to address complex physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Integrated care helps to align delivery systems, promote communication across different providers, and build a coordinated team that is working to improve the long-term well-being of dually eligible individuals. 

Understanding Integrated Behavioral Health Care

Explore these resources to better understand the concepts behind integrated behavioral health care.

Webinar: Behavioral Health Integration Capacity Assessment Introduction

Tool: Behavioral Health Integration Capacity Assessment

How To Implement

Use this resource to understand the leading practices and techniques for implementing integrated behavioral health care.

Concept Guide: Approaches to Integrating Physical Health Services into Behavioral Health Organizations 

[1] Peek, C.J. & the National Integration Academy Council. (2013). Executive Summary–Lexicon for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration: Concepts and Definitions Developed by Expert Consensus. AHRQ Publication No.13- IP001-1-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Retrieved from: