Some of the language used in mental health can be confusing to anyone who isn’t a trained mental health professional. In the glossary below you can find explanations of various terms used in mental health. Below the glossary is an ‘Abbreviations Explained’ section where you can find explanations of some of the abbreviations mental health professionals use.
Accident and Emergency (A&E)
A walk-in centre at hospitals for when urgent or immediate treatment is necessary.
An acute illness is one that develops suddenly. Acute conditions may or may not be severe and they usually last for a short amount of time.
NHS beds that are available for people in a crisis, when care cannot be provided in their own home.
An advocate is someone who helps to support a service user or carer through their contact with health services.
Allied Health Professionals (AHPs)
A range of health professionals that includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, art therapists, and speech and language therapists.
Medication used to treat psychosis. There are several different types of anti-psychotic medication.
Assertive outreach refers to a way of delivering treatment. An Assertive Outreach Team actively take their service to people instead of people coming to the team. Care and support may be offered in the service user’s home or in some other community setting. Care and support is offered at times suited to the service user rather than times suited to the team’s convenience.
When someone is unwell, health care professionals meet with the person to talk to them and find out more about their symptoms so they can make a diagnosis and plan treatments. This is called an assessment. Family members should be involved in assessments, unless the person who is unwell says he or she does not want that.
The person within a Trust who has responsibility for policies on safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information.
This is the route someone who is unwell follows through health services. The path starts when someone first contacts health services – through their GP or an accident and emergency department, for example. The path continues through diagnosis, treatment, and care.
Mental health professionals draw up a care plan with someone when they first start offering them support, after they have assessed what someone’s needs are and what is the best package of help they can offer. People should be given a copy of their care plan and it should be reviewed regularly. Service users, and their families and carers, can be involved in the discussion of what the right care plan is.
Care Programme Approach (CPA)
A way of assessing the health and social care needs of people with mental health problems, and coming up with a care plan that ensures people get the full help and support they need.
A friend or relative who voluntarily looks after someone who is ill, disabled, vulnerable, or frail. Carers can provide care part-time or full-time.
Behaviour that puts the safety of the person or other people at risk, or that has a significant impact on the person’s or other people’s quality of life.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
CAMHS provide individual and family work helping children and young people under the age of 18 who experience emotional difficulties or mental health problems.
A condition that develops slowly and/or lasts a long time.
Someone who uses health services. Some people use the terms patient or service user instead.
A system of steps and procedures through which NHS organisations are accountable for improving quality and safeguarding high standards to ensure that patients receive the highest possible quality of care.
A health professional who is directly involved in the care and treatment of people. Examples include nurses, doctors, and therapists.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
This is a way of helping people to cope with stress and emotional difficulties by encouraging them to make the connections between how we think, how we feel, and how we behave.
The process by which commissioners decide which services to purchase for the local community and which provider to purchase them from. Most mental health services are commissioned by Primary Care Trusts.
Care and support provided outside of a hospital.
A mental health crisis is a sudden and intense period of severe mental distress.
Communal care that is usually provided away from a service user's place of residence with carers present.
Long acting medication often used where people are unable or unwilling to take tablets regularly.
When two or more problems or disorders affect a person at the same time.
Early intervention service
A service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Research suggests that early detection and treatment will significantly increase recovery.
Services that provide support to offenders with mental health problems.
A formal patient is a person who has been detained in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act (1983).
NHS Foundation Trusts have been created to shift a certain amount of decision-making from central Government control to local organisations and communities. This should make Foundation Trusts more responsive to the needs and wishes of their local people.
Functional mental health problems
A term for any mental illness in which there is no evidence of organic disturbance (as there is with dementia) even though physical performance is impaired.
General practitioner (GP)
GPs are family doctors who provide general health services to a local community. They are usually based in a GP surgery or practice and are often the first place people go with a health concern.
Taking into consideration as much about a person as possible in the treatment of an illness – this includes their physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social needs.
Voluntary, charitable, and private care providers.
Services where the service user is accommodated on a ward and receives treatment there from specialist health professionals.
Health and social care professionals (such as social workers) working together in one team to provide a comprehensive range of support.
An ‘intervention’ describes any treatment or support that is given to someone who is unwell. An intervention could be medication, a talking therapy, or an hour spent with a volunteer.
Low secure mental health services
Intensive rehabilitation services for offenders who have mental health problems.
Someone’s ability to manage and cope with the stress and challenges of life, and to manage any diagnosed mental health problems as part of leading their normal everyday life.
Mental Health Act (1983)
The Mental Health Act is a law that allows for the compulsory detention of people in hospital for assessment and treatment of a mental illness.
Mental health trust
A mental health trust provides treatment, care and advice to people who have mental health problems. The services may be provided from a hospital or in the community.
A team made up of a range of both health and social care workers combining their skills to help people.
National institute for clinical excellence (NICE)
An organisation responsible for providing guidance on best practice and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
National Service Frameworks (NSF)
A set of quality standards for services issued by the Department of Health.
Non-executive director (Ned)
A member of the Trust’s board who represents community interest and uses their knowledge and expertise to help improve trust services. Non-executive directors have a responsibility to ensure the trust is fully accountable to the public for the services it provides and the public funds it uses.
Adults aged over 65.
Illness affecting memory and other functions that is often associated with old age. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, is an organic mental illness.
Services provided to someone who comes to a hospital for treatment, consultation, and advice but who does not require a stay in the hospital.
Overview and scrutiny committee
A County Council committee that is responsible for looking at the details and implications of decisions about changes to health services, and the processes used to reach these decisions.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
All NHS Trusts have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service. They provide support, advice, and information to service users and their families. They can also tell you how to complain about a service, and can explain the Trust’s complaints procedures.
Specialist health professionals who make, dispense, and sell medicines.
Health services that are the first point of contact for people with health concerns. Examples include GP surgeries, pharmacies, the local dentists, and opticians.
Primary Care Trust (PCT)
Primary Care Trusts are responsible for planning and securing health services in their local area.
Psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU)
A locked ward in a hospital where some people detained under the Mental Health Act may stay. They stay in the unit because they have been assessed as being at risk to themselves or others on an open acute inpatient care ward.
Group work, using psychological therapy techniques, that address mental and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and severe stress.
A mental state in which someone may show confused thinking, think that people are watching them, and see, feel, or hear things that other people cannot.
A programme of therapy that aims to restore someone’s independence and confidence and reduce disability.
Residential and nursing homes
Residential and nursing homes provide round the clock care for vulnerable adults and older adults who can no longer be supported in their own homes. Homes may be run by local councils or independent organisations.
An opportunity for a carer to have a break.
Secondary Mental Health Services
Specialist mental health services usually provided by a Mental Health Trust. Services include support and treatment in the community as well as in hospitals.
When someone is sectioned it means they are compulsorily admitted to hospital.
Service level agreements (SLAs)
Internal NHS agreements between Primary Care Trusts and other NHS Trusts on the services to be provided to the local population, what their standards will be, and how monitoring will take place.
This is someone who uses health services. Some people use the terms patient or client instead.
Social care describes services and support that help people live their lives as fully as possible, whereas health care focuses on treating an illness. Both types of care are offered as a combined package of support to people with mental health problems.
Ensuring that vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are able to access all of the activities and benefits available to anyone living in the community.
Anybody who has an interest in an organisation, its activities, and its achievements.
Society’s negative attitude to people, often caused by lack of understanding. Stigma can be a problem for people who experience mental ill health.
Supervised Community Treatment
When someone detained under the Mental Health Act for treatment is discharged from hospital, they can be placed on ‘Supervised Community Treatment.’ This means they can return home but continue to be treated without their consent.
A partnership between a doctor, a service user, and a nurse or Allied Health Professional (AHP). Under the partnership the nurse or AHP can make adjustments to someone’s medication based on an agreed care plan.
A&E – Accident and Emergency
ACF – Acute Care Forum
ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
AFC – Agenda for Change
AHP – Allied Healthcare Professional
ALE – Auditors Local Evaluation}
AMHP – Approved Mental Health Practitioner
AOA – Adult and Older Adult (Services)
AoG – Assembly of Governors
AOT – Assertive Outreach Team
ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder
ASW – Approved Social Worker
BME – Black and Minority Ethnic
BoD – Board of Directors
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CAPA – Choice and Partnership Approach
CAT – Change Agent Team
CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CD - Controlled Drugs
CDAT – Cornwall Drug & Alcohol Team
C-diff – Clostridium Difficile
CDW – Community Development Worker
CEO – Chief Executive Officer
CFT - Cornwall Foundation Trust
CHAI – Commission for Healthcare Audit Inspection
CHESS - Cornwall Healthcare Estates & Support Services
CHS - Community Health Services
CIP – Cost Improvement
CITS – Cornwall Information and Technology Service
CMHT – Community Mental Health Team
CNST – Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts
CPA – Care Programme Approach
CPfIT – Cornwall Programme for Information Technology
CPN – Community Psychiatric Nurse
CRES – Cash Releasing Efficiency Savings
CRL – Capital Resource Limit
CQC – Care Quality Commission
CQUIN – Commissioning for Quality and Innovation
CSCI – Commission for Social Care Inspection
CSCGC – Clinical and Social Care Governance Committee (superseded by Risk, Quality & Standards)
CTO – Community Treatment Order
CYPF – Children and Young People and Families
DAAT – Drug and Alcohol Action Team
DASC – Department of Adult Social Care
DDA – Disability Discrimination Act
DoF – Director of Finance
DoH – Department of Health
DSPD – Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder
DTC – Day Treatment Centre
EBITDA - Earnings before Interest, Tax, Dividend & Amortisation
ECT – Electro Convulsive Therapy
ED – Executive Directors
EDS – Eating Disorder Service
EFL – External Financing Limit
EIP – Early Intervention Psychosis
EIS – Early Intervention Service
EMT – Executive Management Team
ERG - Expert Reference Group
EROS – Electronic Requisition Ordering System
ESBL – Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase
ESR – Electronic Staff Record
EWTD – European Working Time Directive
FOIA – Freedom of Information Act
FRP - Financial Reporting Procedures
FT – Foundation Trust
FTN – Foundation Trust Network
GP – General Practitioner
HART – Humanitarian Assistance Response Team
HAZ – Health Action Zone
HCC – Health Care Commission – replaced by CQC
HCJ – Health and Criminal Justice
HDD – Historical Due Diligence
HNA – Health Needs Assessment
HONOS – Health of the Nation Score
HR – Human Resources
HTT – Home Treatment Team
IA – Internal Audit
IAPT – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
IBP – Integrated Business Plan
ICAS – Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
ICN – Integrated Care Network
ICP – Integrated Care Pathway
ICT – Information, Communications, Technology
IFRS – International Financial Reporting System
IG – Information Governance
IGSoC – Information Governance Statement of Compliance
IGT – Information Governance Toolkit
IMT – Information Management Technology
IPC – Infection Prevention & Control
ISMS – Information Security Management System
IT - Information Technology
JCC – Joint Consultative Committee
JV - Joint Venture
KLOE – Key Lines of Enquiry
KPIs – Key Performance Indicators
LA – Local Authority
LD – Learning Disabilities
LDP – Local Delivery Plan
LHE – Local Health Economy
LIN - Local Intelligence Network
LINks – Local Involvement Networks
LTFM – Long Term Financial Management
LTP - Liabilities to Third Parties Scheme
MAG – Multi Agency Group
MAPPA – Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements
MCA – Mental Capacity Act
MDCR - Maximum Debt to Capital Ratio
MDT – Multi-Disciplinary Team
MHA – Mental Health Act
MOC - Managing Operating Cash
MRSA - Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureaus
NED – Non-Executive Director
NeLH – National Electronic Library for Health
NFI – National Fraud Initiative
NHS SW – Strategic Health Authority Southwest
NHS LA – NHS Litigation Authority
NHS FT – NHS Foundation Trust
NICE – National Institute for Clinical Excellence in Health
NOLAN Principles – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
NPfIT – New programme for Information Technolog
NPSA – National Patient Safety Agency
OBD – Occupied Bed Days
OD – Organisational development
OSC – Overview and Scrutiny Committee
OT – Occupational Therapist/Therapy
PAG – Professional Advisory Group
PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service
PAS – Patient Administration System
PBC – Practice Based Commissioning
PBL – Prudential Borrowing Limit
PBR – Payment by Results
PCT – Primary Care Trust
PDC – Public Dividend Capital
PEAT – Patient Environment Assessment Team
PEST – Political Economic Social Technological
PID - Project Initiation Document
PFI – Private Finance Initiative
PICU – Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
PIMMS – Performance Improvement Management Meetings
PPI – Patient and Public Involvement
PRT – Positive Response Training
QIPP – Quality Innovation Productivity & Prevention
QUINCE – Quality Improvement for Cornwall’s Excellence
RCHT - Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
REID – Risk Evaluation Investment Decisions
RMG – Risk Management Group
RMN – Registered Mental Nurse
RNMH – Registered Nurse in Mental Handicap
RPI – Retail Price Index
RPST – Risk Pooling System for Trusts
RQS – Risk, Quality & Standards Committee
SaLT – Speech and Language Therapy
SAT – Standardised Assessment Tool Sec 136 – Section 136 Agreement
SBG – Strategic Business Group
SDP – Service Development Plans
SEAP – South of England Advocacy Projects
SFI – Standing Financial Instruction
SFS – Shared Financial Services
SHA - Strategic Health Authority
SHIPPS – Social and Health Individual Patient Placements
SIC – Statement of Internal Control
SIRO – Senior Information Records Officer
SLA – Service Level Agreement
SLM – Service Line Management
SLR – Service Line Reporting
SMSC – Senior Medical Staffing Committee
S4BH – Standards for Better Health
SO – Standing Orders
SMC – Senior Medical Committee
SMS – Substance Misuse Service
SPI – Strategic Planning & Investments Committee
STR – Support, Time and Recovery
SUI – Serious Untoward Incidents
SURG – Service User Representation Group
SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threats
TMIS - Team Management Information System
TUPE – Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment Regulations
VfM - Value for Money
WTE – Whole Time Equivalent