Integrated Behavioral Health and Social Work: a Global Perspective

Lisa de Saxe Zerden, Brianna M. Lombardi, Ting Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mental health and substance use disorders, in combination referred to as behavioral health, significantly impact lives across the world and represent a considerable proportion of the global disease burden. The intent of integration of physical and behavioral health is to increase access to services while promoting treatment of the whole person. Because many countries are undergoing transformation of their healthcare systems, this paper offers a comparative analysis of integrated models of behavioral healthcare between the USA, the UK, and China. Integrated care occurs on a spectrum, and therefore, this paper outlines micro-, mezzo-, and macro-level systems that illustrate both opportunities and challenges in integrated healthcare systems in the context of the three countries. Further, the authors provide evidence of the ways in which social work professionals are deployed in certain settings as part of the trained workforce that provides integrated behavioral health services. The discussion examines ways of leveraging the strengths of the social work workforce to improve holistic well-being worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal Social Welfare
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Global behavioral health
  • Integrated behavioral health
  • Social work
  • Social work workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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