Support & strategies to address the “mind-body-behavior” connection ...
Behavioral health consultants (BHCs) are licensed mental health clinicians — often psychologists and social workers — qualified to conduct brief behavioral interventions on a wide range of issues. Part of your primary care team at Cornell Health, BHCs work collaboratively with your primary care provider (PCP) to consider the physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects of health. They also offer recommendations to promote the self-management of your well-being.
- BHCs offer targeted support for issues in which a student’s physical or mental well-being is being impacted by their behaviors and emotions
- They also specialize in the behavioral management of certain medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, asthma, migraines).
Learn more about services offered by our BHCs:
What concerns are addressed in behavioral health?
BHCs help students manage aspects of your physical, emotional, and behavioral health. Consider the following examples:
- Physical Concerns: Sleep problems, migraines, chronic or acute health concerns like diabetes, concussion, irritable bowel syndrome); sexual health concerns (STI diagnosis, unplanned pregnancy).
- Emotional Concerns: Stress, worry/anxiety, anger, intimacy, depression, bereavement
- Behavioral Concerns: Nicotine/tobacco cessation, healthy eating/exercise, alcohol or other drug use, athletic performance, sexual function (orgasm, erection)
What should patients expect?
BHCs will ask questions about physical symptoms, emotional concerns, and lifestyle choices. They help students develop behavior change plans (e.g., for sleep, nutrition, exercise, or other lifestyle modifications). They also help students develop skills to effectively manage emotional or behavioral difficulties such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, anger, or relationship problems.
Expect to obtain brief, solution-focused recommendations for health improvement and then see the BHC for follow-up appointments if needed. A BHC will help students and their primary care team develop and implement an integrated health care plan. Visits with a BHC are typically brief and few in number. A BHC may connect students with traditional mental health services or other resources when needed.
How is behavioral health different from mental health?
Behavioral health is one component of addressing a student’s mental and emotional health care. Much like a visit with a medical professional, behavioral health targets specific goals and concerns in the “here and now,” utilizing concrete strategies to promote change toward a student’s desired outcome. BHCs also work in close collaboration with medical colleagues to offer a team-based approach to care (e.g., a BHC with a deep understanding of sports psychology can assist athletes who see our sports medicine clinicians in the medical department). BHCs do not provide traditional psychotherapy, which is often longer and more comprehensive in nature, but they can help a student decide if traditional therapy would be a good next step.
How do I obtain a behavioral health consultation?
Appointments with a BHC are free, but time-limited, typically consisting of 1–6 sessions. Talk with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or another member of your primary care team about your interest in BHC services. If your provider feels this service would benefit you, they will refer you. It is often possible to visit with the BHC on the same day you meet with your primary care provider. Following your initial meeting, you and the BHC will jointly decide if and/or when to meet again.
To schedule an appointment with your PCP, go to myCornellHealth and select “Schedule an Appointment.” Next, select “Primary Care (medical clinician or nurse) Visit.” Follow the prompts regarding the nature of your medical concern.
How can I access online information related to behavioral health?
Our online Fact Sheet Library contains numerous fact sheets and worksheets related to behavioral health topics. They are available to any member of the Cornell community, whether or not you are seeing a BHC at this time. Visit the Fact Sheet Library and search for the category “Behavior change & worksheets” to view the full list of topics, including: anxiety, depression, habit change, mood, tobacco cessation, sexual health functioning, and exploring change.”