Prevention and wellness

Priority: Ensure access to quality mental and behavioral health promotion, screening and referral, prevention, early intervention and wellness services for people across the lifespan, with particular attention to at-risk populations

Heart disease. Cancer. Stroke. Respiratory disease. Diabetes. Accidents. What do they all have in common? Behavior--whether it's overeating, failing to exercise or forgetting to use a seatbelt--plays a significant role in all of these health problems.

As experts in human behavior, psychologists can help people of all ages prevent disease and stay healthy. They can also assist those who already have problems by helping them learn healthier habits and follow their doctors' orders.

Psychologists have been at the forefront of developing strategies and programs to promote health and manage chronic disease.

Having access to psychological care can help people stay healthy.

  • Smoking. Psychologists have developed several effective strategies for helping smokers quit, such as exploring motivations for quitting, changing habits and developing new coping skills, as reported in a 2008 APA Monitor on Psychology article.
  • Diabetes. A lifestyle intervention that provided training in monitoring food intake, designing an exercise program and problem-solving reduced the risk of diabetes by 58 percent, according to a 2002 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.