Rochdale wellbeingdirectory - Glossary

This is a list of some of the terms, abbreviations and organisations that you may come across in relation to mental health. Terms marked with an asterisk have a medical meaning and should be used with care. Some, such as anxiety and depression, are in common use but others are diagnoses that are best made by someone who is medically qualified. If you want to know more about diagnostic terms and the debates that often surround them, see the series of information booklets published by Mind.

Accident and Emergency

An advocate helps another to express needs and wishes. Advocacy can involve speaking on behalf of a user or supporting an individual to present his or her own case.

Uneasiness that may be general or due to something specific. If specific the threat might be real, exaggerated or imaginary. Physical symptoms that may be due to anxiety include aching muscles, fast beating heart, sweating and dizziness. Someone who is anxious may have their mind full of busy repetitive thoughts. These can make it hard to concentrate, relax or sleep.

Assertive Outreach Team - works in the community with users who need mental health services and find it difficult to engage with them.

Approved Social Worker - has special training and qualification in mental health and is involved in assessing whether people need to stay in hospital against their wishes. Their brief is to support the patient's rights during the assessment.

Bipolar disorder*
Usually diagnosed when someone's moods swing from deep depression to mania. Also called manic depression.

Black and minority ethnic

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services

Care Pathway
Refers to the route that someone may follow through different services, e.g. via the GP, into hospital and then into community-based services.

Care Plan
A plan of treatment or action agreed with a service user, following an assessment meeting in which all the relevant people are involved. The user should take an active part in the planning.

Care Programme Approach (CPA)
The requirement for users discharged from hospital into ongoing support to have a care plan.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. A form of psychotherapy that focuses on challenging habitual thought-patterns and so changing behaviour. It is the talking treatment most likely to be offered through the NHS by psychologists.

Community Development Workers

Counselling offers emotional support and help to understand feelings. It can also help to explore what lies behind these feelings to develop personal understanding and inner strengths.

Care Programme Approach

Community Psychiatric Nurse - A nurse trained in mental health working in the community, usually as part of a CMHT.

Crisis Resolution Team - aims to respond to mental health crises promptly in order to reduce the need for hospitalisation.

Day Hospital
A centre for treatment and support that people attend during the day only.

A delusion is usually defined as a belief that is not open to question and is not shared by others, e.g. that neighbours are pouring poison through the ceiling.

A term that covers a broad range of psychological distress. In less severe forms depression may manifest as lowered mood that doesn't stop normal life but makes everything seem harder and less worthwhile. More severe depression may lead to much thinking about self-harm, attempts at suicide or actual death.

Dual Diagnosis
Used when someone has been diagnosed with more than one kind of difficulty, either mental health problems and drug or alcohol abuse, or else mental health problems and a learning disability.

Hearing, seeing or possibly smelling something which does not seem to relate to anything in the environment, e.g. hearing voices, is usually classed as a hallucination.

Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale Primary Care Trust - the local NHS body that funds GPs and channels funds to hospitals and other services.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate - The role of the IMCA is to support and represent the person who lacks capacity. Decision makers in the NHS and in local authorities (for example doctors and social workers), will have a duty to consult the IMCA for the most vulnerable - those who have no family or friends to be consulted. 

A person who has been admitted to hospital and allocated a bed. Someone may be admitted to a mental health ward as a voluntary patient or under Section.

Usually applied to people who have lost the ability to live independently through spending too long in prison, hospital or another setting where choices have been limited.

A state of high excitement, possibly with uncontrolled behaviour such as spending huge amounts of money or driving recklessly. May also involve delusions or hallucinations.

Manic Depression*
Now more usually known as bipolar disorder.

Medical Model
The medical model encourages people to view issues such as mental distress as illnesses. The social model emphasises the role of society and other people in creating or maintaining an issue.

Occupational Therapy / Therapist - works with users in the community and in hospitals to promote living skills such as budgeting, shopping and cooking. Also runs activity and therapeutic groups.

A person attending a clinic for consultation, advice or treatment but not occupying a hospital bed.

Panic Attack*
A bout of intense terror that may include involving shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, trembling, faintness and sweating. Attacks could be in response to something most people are not anxious about.

Having a fixed belief that some person or organisation is against one.

Primary Care Trust.

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust 
Provides mental health and specialist substance misuse services to people throughout the Boroughs of Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Tameside & Glossop.

An intense fear response to a situation or object that would not overwhelm most other people, e.g. cars or animals. Some people know how a phobia started and others are unable to explain it.

PPI Forum 
Patient & Public Involvement Forum - each NHS Trust has a Forum to monitor and represent the views of users, carers and the general public.

A medical doctor who has a specialist qualification in mental health. They are the only mental health professionals who prescribe medication.

Clinical psychologists usually work with people in a hospital or clinic setting. They are trained in assessing people's mental health issues and offer treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

Like counselling, a talking therapy which can help people understand their feelings and their responses to other people and events. There are many different styles of therapy and the number of sessions involved varies greatly.

Used by psychiatrists to mean that a person, in their view, cannot sufficiently distinguish her or his own intense thoughts, ideas, perceptions and imaginings from what the majority accept as reality. See also Schizophrenia.

Risk Management 
The assessment of the likelihood of hurting self or others, designing and delivering a response appropriate to the perceived risk.

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Defined as a form of psychosis. May be diagnosed when someone experiences one or more 0of the following: hearing voices and other hallucinations, paranoia and delusions.

Being admitted to hospital against one's wishes under the 1983 Mental Health Act. Refers to the Section of the Act defining the length and purpose of the admission.

Secure Unit
A unit where access to the community is restricted, more so than for people ordinarily under Section. Someone may be sent to a secure unit if it is felt that hospital resources are not sufficient to contain them, e.g. if they have committed a violent criminal offence.

Self-Help Group
A group that meets for sharing and mutual support about a particular issue and is often organised by the members themselves. Some groups focus on a mental health topic like anxiety or depression, others deal with the problems and pressures of life situations such as having cancer.

Service User
In this context, consumer of mental health services. Sometimes called user.

Statutory Services
Services that are provided by the NHS or local council or contracted out to another organisation.

Support Group
Similar to a self-help group but for people who have a common background or interest. For example, mothers of young children, gay men or carers of people with a specific problem. May be conducted by a group leader rather than run by the members themselves.

Talking Therapies
Approaches such as counselling and psychotherapy that work by talking about issues and do not prescribe medication.

Voluntary Patient 
Someone who has chosen to be admitted to a mental health ward and is free to leave. However, some voluntary patients may be warned that they will be Sectioned if they do not accept the hospital treatment.

Voluntary Sector
Charities and other non-profit organisations that provide services. May be funded by the local council, health services or charitable trusts, or a combination of all of these.