Integrated Behavioral Health

Integrated Behavioral Health has been defined as “the care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population. This care may address mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic medical illnesses), life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.”

Peek CJ. Lexicon for behavioral health and primary care integration: Concepts and definitions developed by expert consensus. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2013. Available from: Accessed August 2, 2018.

Integrated Behavioral Health in Social Work

Social workers are being utilized in integrated behavioral health settings more than ever before. As helping professionals who are already trained to understand individuals holistically, social workers play an important and unique role in the provision of integrated care.

That social workers comprise a large portion of the behavioral health provider workforce has already been established (Singer, Beck & Buche, 2017). However, it has also been demonstrated that the presence of social workers on integrated teams can enhance and improve the care that is being provided (Fraser, Lombardi, Wu, de Saxe Zerden, Richman and Fraher, 2018).

For more information on social work in integrated behavioral health, please consult the following resources:


  • Fraser, M. W., Lombardi, B. M., Wu, S., De Saxe Zerden, L., Richman, E. L., & Fraher, E. P. (2018). Integrated Primary Care and Social Work: A Systematic Review. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research,9(2). doi:10.1086/697567
  • Singer, P. M., Beck, A. J., & Buche, J. (2017, September). A workforce minimum data set for social workers. Retrieved from 


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