Jargon Buster

 

Acute Care

Short term treatment for diseases or illnesses that start quickly and have painful or distressing symptoms. The term 'acute' is also used to refer to services which provide care and treatment for physical health problems.

Advance Statement / Directive

A way of stating your wishes in advance. They can state who to be consulted, if you are unwell.

Advocate

A trained and independent person who will support you in talking to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. This could involve putting questions to them on your behalf, or making sure they understand your point of view.

Aggressive Behaviour

Refers to physical or verbal aggression towards another person.

Alternative Therapies

These are usually not part of current medical practice, like aromatherapy or reflexology. They can also be complementary to conventional treatment.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which describes the loss of mental abilities, such as memory and reasoning.

Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and a mental health condition. People who have anorexia have problems with eating. They are very anxious about their weight. They keep it as low as possible, by strictly controlling and limiting what they eat.

Antipsychotic

Medications that are usually used to treat psychosis. Sometimes they are used to treat other conditions.

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMPH)

Someone who has had specific training in the legal aspects of mental health assessment and treatment. AMPHs are approved by their local authority social services department to organise and carry out assessments under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Capacity

Capacity is the ability to understand and retain information about a medical condition or treatment.

Care Co-ordinator

The person who is responsible for making sure that your care is properly planned and you get the help you need. They will usually work with a community mental health team and will be the person you see most often. They will usually be a Community Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker or Occupational Therapist.

Care Pathway

A standard way of giving care or treatment to someone with a particular diagnosis.

Care Plan

A plan for your care over the next few weeks or months. It should be written down and you should have a copy. If you think it is wrong, or something is missing, you can ask for it to be changed.

Care Programme Approach (CPA)

This is for anyone who needs to see several people or organisations for their care or treatment. If you are on the CPA, there will be a meeting every three to six months where everyone involved in your care, including you, will meet to discuss how things have been going and what should happen next. It requires health and social services and other agencies to work together with you to provide an agreed programme of care.

Carer

A person who looks after someone else without being paid to do so. This can involve helping out with practical things including managing money, and being someone to talk with, and someone who is there to listen to you.

Clinical Commissioning Group

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are groups of GPs that are responsible for buying health and care services. All GP practices are part of a CCG.

Clinician

A term which is used to describe someone who provides care and treatment to patients, such as a nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

A 'talking treatment' which helps you to see how early relationships and experiences have affected how you see yourself, other people and how you behave. It usually takes about 16 weekly sessions and focuses on a problem that is important for you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A talking treatment which can help you to overcome upsetting and unhelpful ways of thinking and behaviour. It helps you to be clearer about these patterns and then helps you to work out your own ways of changing them. It usually involves doing some work between sessions when you "try out" different ways of thinking or behaving.

Cognitive Therapy

Psychological therapy in which cognition (thinking) is seen as the most significant factor in psychological problems and their treatment.

Commissioner

An organisation which determines what health and social care services should be provided for local people, and which then commissions and allocates funding for other organisations to provide them. This could be a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or local authority.

Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)

A nurse who has been trained to help people with mental health problems and who works in the community, instead of in a hospital.

Conditional Discharge

These are the conditions which relate to the discharge of a patient who has been treated in hospital under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will). If you do not comply with these conditions then you could be brought back into hospital.

Confidentiality

Treating your information - medical or other - as private and not for sharing. “Not for sharing” will mean not sharing outside of those that provide care for you. You should always be told if your care team wants to share it with anyone else and why.

Consent

Where permission is given for things relating to care and treatment. For example, consenting to take a particular medication.

Consultant Psychiatrist

The medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders that has overall responsibility for your care. This includes your medication and other activities you may take part in whilst in hospital.

Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities.

Depression

When you're depressed, you may have feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, and can last for weeks or months, rather than days. Depression is quite common, and about 15% of people will have a bout of severe depression at some point in their lives.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis refers to a person who has been diagnosed with both a mental health condition and a substance misuse problem.

Early Intervention

A way of picking up the early signs of a serious mental illness. This is so that treatment can start as early as possible to help people to maintain their mental health.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT):

Small electrical impulses sent through the brain, usually reserved for resistant depression.

Forensic Services

The area of mental health dealing with people who commit offences while being mentally ill.

Formal Patient

A person who is legally kept in hospital under a section of The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (often called "a section").

General Practitioner (GP)

Your local doctor - or family doctor - who will usually be the first person you see if you have a physical illness or emotional problem. They can help you directly but can also refer you on for specialist care or assessment. Many GPs have a community psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist or counsellor who works at the GP surgery.

Group Therapy

Any form of psychotherapy can be done in a group. Some groups are very brief, focused and educational (such as parent training groups), while others are unstructured and may last for several years (such as group analytic therapy). All groups make use of the input from other group members as well as the group leader to help people understand and change their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Health Care Assistants

A member of hospital staff who helps qualified nursing staff to care for patients on the ward.

Health of the Nation Outcome Score (HoNOS)

A way of measuring how well someone is doing in their treatment and recovery.

Home Treatment

Home treatment (sometimes called Crisis Resolution) is a way of helping people at home rather than in hospital. This can help to avoid the stress, anxiety and upheaval that can happen with a hospital admission. This can include daily or twice daily visits, and help with medication and sorting out practical matters such as accommodation and shopping.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT)

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme aims to improve access to talking therapies in the NHS by providing more local services and psychological therapists. IAPT services have now been set up across the NHS.

Informal Patient

Someone who is in hospital because they want to be - or at least feel that it could be helpful for them. Someone who is not detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Inpatient

Someone who stays in hospital to receive care and treatment.

Involvement

People who use mental health services, carers and the public can become involved in various aspects of the Trust, such as attending regular committee meetings, working on an audit project or taking part in staff recruitment.

Keyworker (also referred to as a Named Nurse or Primary Nurse)

A ward nurse who, individually or as part of a small team, is responsible for making sure you have a care plan, and who may be asked to write reports about your progress, for example if you appeal to the Mental Health Review Tribunal. If your keyworker is not available, because they work shifts, including night duty and weekends, you can get help from any of the staff on the ward.

Learning Disabilities

If someone has a learning disability, it means that they may find it more difficult to learn, understand and communicate. Learning disabilities are not a "mental illness", but can be caused by many illness or problems before or during birth, or that develop during childhood or as the result of an illness.

Looked After Children (LAC)

Looked After Children are provided with somewhere to live by social services for more than 24 hours, as a result of a court order, or after agreement with their parents. Children become 'looked after' when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing, temporary or permanent, care.

Medium Secure Unit

Medium Secure Units, also known as MSUs, provide hospital care for people with complex mental health problems who may have become involved in the criminal justive system.

Mental Health Act 2007 (MHA)

The legal framework governing the treatment of people with mental illness in England and Wales

Mental Health Act Managers

Mental Health Act Managers are actually lay people, who can decide if a section should be repealed or varied.

Mental Health Tribunal

An independent organisation with responsibility for hearing appeals by patients who wish to be discharged from a section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Multi-Disciplinary Team

A team of health and social care staff. It includes professionals such as nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists and benefits workers. It can also include service users and non-professionals in certain jobs.

Named Nurse

The nurse with special responsibility for you when you are in hospital. He/she will work closely with you and your consultant to design your care plan and review its progress. Also known as a primary nurse.

National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service was set up in 1948 to provide healthcare for everyone in the United Kingdom, based on need, not the ability to pay. It is made up of a wide range of health professionals, support workers and health care organisations.

NHS Improvement

The independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.

NHS Trust

A legal organisation providing health and social care services within the NHS.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a chronic mental health condition that is usually associated with both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

The person who will work with you to develop your skills and confidence in everyday life - including work, social and leisure activities and personal care.

Outpatient

Someone who comes to hospital for an appointment to see a doctor, nurse, social worker or psychologist.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

A service at the Trust which can give telephone help, advice and information about the services we provide.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

A term used to describe a way of involving people who use services, and the wider public, in how NHS services are planned and provided.

Personality disorder

Personality disorders are a range of conditions that affect a person's thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Most people with personality disorders find it difficult to deal with other people.

Pharmacist

Someone who has expert knowledge of the use of medicines. They work closely with doctors and nurses and advise them on the safe and effective use of drugs. They are responsible for supplying medication and making sure it is available in the right form.

Pharmacology

The study of drugs and their uses and effects.

Phobia

A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear, for example a fear of heights or animals. Phobias are estimated to affect 1 in 40 adults a year.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you have experienced a traumatic event, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the days, weeks or months after the incident. Although such events can be very difficult to come to terms with, confronting your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD.

Postnatal Depression

The birth of a baby is an emotional experience and, for many new mothers, feeling tearful and depressed is also common. However, sometimes longer periods of depression, known as postnatal depression (PND), can occur during the first few weeks and months of the baby's life. PND can have a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, but it can be treated.

Provider

An organisation which provides health and/or social care services to local people.

Psychiatrist

A medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders. He or she has overall responsibility for your care. This includes any medication you may take, and any activities you may be involved in whilst in hospital, or in the community.

Psychological Therapies

Psychological therapies are also known as 'talking therapies' or 'talking treatments'. They are ways of helping people through talking. They give you the chance to talk about, explore and deal with problems, with a trained psychological therapist.

Psychologist

Someone who has done a psychology degree, then further training in helping people with emotional or psychological problems. Psychologists can offer you therapy which involves talking about your difficulties and working together to overcome them. They are different from psychiatrists in that they are not medically trained and do not prescribe medication.

Psychosis

Disorders involving distorted perceptions of reality - thinking, feeling, hearing and seeing - often with symptoms of hallucinations and delusions.

Psychotherapist

Someone who has trained to carry out one or more of the psychotherapies. They can be from any professional background - or none. They should be registered with a professional psychotherapy organisation in the UK.

Psychotherapy

A 'talking treatment' which aims to help people to understand their mental or emotional problems, change behaviour and thoughts or emotions to improve their well-being. This can refer to any form of psychological therapy but is often specifically applied to psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)

RCT's are a type of scientific experiment commonly used in testing healthcare services and medications. RCTs use the random allocation of different treatments to participants, to ensure that the effectiveness of the treatment is not just due to the placebo effect - where a person feels their condition has improved due to taking a pill, even though the pill contained no active drugs.

Recovery College

The wellbeing and recovery college provides an educational approach to recovery with an aim to empower students to live well through shared learning. All courses are co-produced and co-delivered by a peer trainer with lived experience of mental health challenges or caring, and a professional trainer with experience of working in mental health or learning disabilities.

Referral

Introducing someone for assessment or help

Restriction Order

Another term for Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will). A Restriction Order means the Secretary of State decides when you can leave hospital.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms including hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist) and delusions (believing in things that are untrue).

Section 136

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

A small number of people are brought to hospital under Section 136. This is a power which a police officer can use if you were in a public place and that police officer had concerns about you.

Section 2

A Section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

This Section lasts for up to 28 days. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 2. While on a Section 2 a senior doctor known as a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment.

Section 3

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

This lasts for up to six months. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 3. While on Section 3 a senior doctor called a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment.

Section 35

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 35 it is because a court of law has decided that in considering your case it would be of benefit for you to spend time in hospital so that your mental health needs can be assessed. A Section 35 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During your time under this section the senior doctor on the ward will decide whether you have a serious mental health problem or not. In all cases you will need to go back to court.

Section 36

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 36 it is because the Crown Court which is dealing with your case believes you need treatment for a serious mental health problem. A Section 36 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During the time under Section 36 the senior doctor on the ward will provide treatment for you. In all cases you will need to go back to court.

Section 37 (without restrictions)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 37 it is because a court of law has considered your case. Rather than send you to prison the court (on the advice of two doctors) decided that you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. Section 37 usually lasts for up to six months.

Section 37/41 (with restrictions)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 37/41 it means that crown court has considered your case. Rather than send you to prison the court (on the advice of two doctors) decided that you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. Section 37 deals with treatment of your mental health problem. Section 41 (often called a Restriction Order) means the Secretary of State decides when you can leave hospital.

Section 38

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 38 it means that a court of law has convicted you of a particular offence but has not yet passed sentence on you. The reason for the delay is because two doctors have advised the court that time in hospital is needed to treat your serious mental health problem. This section lasts for up to 28 days but can be extended but never for more than a year in total.

Section 4

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you were brought to hospital under Section 4 it means the Approved Mental Health Professional assessing you was very concerned about you and needed to act quickly. Section 4 means only one doctor saw you. Section 4 only lasts for up to 72 hours and is usually followed by Section 2 or Section 3.

Section 47

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 47 it means that you are a sentenced prisoner. On the advice of two doctors the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem.

Section 48

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 48 it means that you are a prisoner waiting to be sentenced. On the advice of two doctors the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem. In most cases you will return to court for final sentencing. Most people under Section 48 are also under section 49.

Section 5(2)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you came into hospital without being on a Section you were an 'informal' or 'voluntary' patient. If you wanted to leave and this was not considered appropriate the decision was made to assess you under Section 2 or Section 3.

It takes time to carry out an assessment and sometimes a person is placed under Section 5(2) to stop them leaving. Section 5(2) is done by one doctor and only lasts up to 72 hours. It is sometimes called a holding power. During the 72 hours you were assessed for Section 2 or 3.

Section 5(4)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If a doctor was not available to use Section 5(2) a nurse may have stopped you leaving by placing you under Section 5(4). This section only lasts up to six hours and ends when a doctor comes to see you.

Self harm

Self harm is when somebody damages or injures their body on purpose. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) describes it as 'self-poisoning, or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act'.

Service User

Someone who uses mental health services, or who has done so in the past. Also sometimes referred to as clients or patients.

Social Worker

A professional who can help you with practical aspects of life, and who will often also have had training in psychological help. They work closely together with other organisations that are also able to provide you with help.

Specialist Registrar

A doctor who is not yet as senior as a consultant. Specialist Registrars are very experienced, and sometimes manage ward rounds in place of the consultant - so don't worry if you do not see your consultant regularly, because the Specialist Registrar is able to make decisions with you about your care.

Stakeholders

People who have an interest and / or an involvement ('stake') in an organisation, its activities and its plans for the future. This can include the public, service users, carers and staff.

Support Workers

Staff employed to support qualified nurses in providing care.

Talking Therapy / Treatment

A general term for treatments which involve talking in individual or group sessions with a trained mental health professional.

Ward Manager

The senior nurse in charge of running a hospital ward.

Share this page