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Behavioral Health

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Behavioral health is a state of mental and emotional well-being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness. Behavioral health problems—such as depression, substance abuse and misuse, and suicidal thoughts—are not a normal part of aging, yet these issues impact many Older Americans.

Through aging, behavioral health, and disability network partnerships, AoA offers programs and resources to help older adults, persons with disabilities, and their family caregivers maintain their health and well-being, including programs intended to:

  • maintain and enhance emotional health;
  • prevent substance abuse/misuse;
  • and prevent suicide.



States are enhancing the ability of their systems to educate, identify, refer, and provide appropriate services/interventions for older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers with or at risk for behavioral health problems. A variety of funding sources are supporting these efforts, including the Evidence-Based Disease Prevention Program, the Older Americans Act Titles III-D, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act initiatives, and other flexible and targeted funding streams. Partnering with state and local agencies that have an interest and/or expertise in behavioral health services may be another way to provide and sustain services that support optimal health.

The Aging Network has implemented several behavioral health programs, including:

  • Healthy IDEAS, an evidence-based program that integrates depression awareness and management into existing case management services provided to older adults.
  • PEARLS, an evidence-based method designed to reduce depressive symptoms and improve quality of life in older adults. 
  • HomeMeds, an evidence-based program specifically designed to enable social workers and nurse care managers to identify and resolve certain medication problems common among frail elders living in the community.
  • ElderVention, a program designed to help older adults achieve and maintain a healthy emotional life.
  • The Brief Intervention and Treatment for Elders (BRITE)• The Brief Intervention and Treatment for Elders (BRITE), a project to help individuals 55 years and older identify their non-dependent substance use or prescription medication issues and to provide effective service strategies prior to their need for more extensive or specialized substance abuse treatment.




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  • Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse (Recording (WAV, 99.40MB) and Slides (PDF, 1.03MB))
  • Evidence-Based Screening and Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Psychoactive Medication Misuse in Older Adults (Recording (WAV, 246.64MB), Slides (PDF, 1.06MB), and Transcript (PDF, 100KB))
  • Suicide Prevention (Webinar #1) (Recording (WAV, 211.17MB) and Slides (PDF, 5.36MB))
  • Suicide Prevention (Webinar #2) (Recording (WAV, 291MB) and Slides (PDF, 5.70MB))
  • Depression, Anxiety and Suicide Prevention (Recording (WAV, 294.35MB), Slides (PDF, 1.97MB), and Transcript (PDF, 283KB))
  • Alcohol and Psychoactive Medication Misuse and Abuse Prevention (Recording (WAV, 148MB), Slides (PDF, 1.0MB), and Transcript (PDF, 188KB))
  • Financing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Interventions (Webinar #1) (Recording (WAV, 300MB), Slides (PDF, 1.75MB), and Transcript (PDF, 111KB))
  • Financing and Sustaining Evidence-Based Interventions (Webinar #2) (Recording (WAV, 298MB), Slides (PDF, 939KB), and Transcript (PDF, 192KB))
  • Partnerships: Key to Behavioral Health Service Success (Recording (WAV, 260MB), Slides (PDF, 925KB), and Transcript (PDF, 117KB))
  • Reaching and Engaging Older Adults in Behavioral Health (Recording (WAV, 280MB), Slides (PDF, 671KB), and Transcript (PDF, 119KB))
  • Caregivers as Partners and Clients of Behavioral Health Services (Recording (WAV, 288MB), Slides (PDF, 1.43MB), Transcript (PDF, 57KB), and Resource List (PDF, 36KB ))

* These webinars were developed by the Older Adults Behavioral Health Technical Assistance Center and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the U.S. Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging.


Issue Briefs


State Behavioral Health Profiles


The AoA Behavioral Health Resource sheet (PDF, 88KB) provides links to:

  • additional resources (toolkits, factsheets, data); and
  • national, state, and local organizations.