Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Multiple factors affect the health of individuals and communities. Current determinants of health addressed by the World Health Organization’s 2020 goals include social factors, physical environments, policymaking, and individual behaviors. Behavioral health, defined here as including both substance use disorders (including alcohol) and mental health disorders, is an additional determinant of physical health that is often disregarded or minimized by current health determinant models. According to L.G. Gamm, S. Stone, and S. Pittman, behavioral health disorders affect approximately half of the population in the United States over a lifetime and are among the most impairing of chronic diseases.

Copyright Statement

Reprinted with permission of Northwest Public Health, a publication of the University of Washington School of Public Health.