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Just like any other specialism, mental health has a lot of jargon attached to it. This jargon can be overwhelming and leave you feeling unsure and confused. Below is a list of some common terms used by mental health professionals, along with an explanation of what they mean.

Advocate: This is someone who can support you to voice your opinions about the treatment and support you wish to receive. They may attend meetings with you to ensure that your voice is heard. Family and friends can act as advocates but you may feel more comfortable talking to an independent (i.e. someone who doesn’t know you personally) person.

Anti-depressants: This is a type of medication aimed at improving your mood. Only a doctor can prescribe this medication.
Assessment: This is something a mental health professional will complete in order to better understand your difficulties. It involves talking to you and your family (if you agree) to get a better understanding of how they can support you.

Care plan: A plan that is created between you and the professional who is supporting you. It contains information about the type of support you will receive and the professionals who will be involved. A care plan should be reviewed with you regularly.

Psychologist: This is a professional who can support you to understand your thoughts and feelings. They will help you to understand your difficulties and develop ways to better manage them.

Consultant Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who has extensive experience in mental illness. They have overall responsibility for your care.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A form of therapy that focuses on how you thoughts and feelings impact on your behaviour. It uses cognitive (how you think) and behavioural (how you act) strategies to help you manage your difficulties.

Co-morbidity: A term used if an individual is experiencing one or more than one additional difficulties alongside their main problem. For example, an individual may have depression and anxiety.

Community care: This refers to care that takes place outside of a hospital

Inpatient care: Refers to care that takes place in a hospital

Intervention: Describes any form of treatment or support that you may receive.

Early intervention service: This service works with individuals aged between 14-35 year olds who are experiencing Psychosis.

Family therapy: Is a form of therapy that involves an individual and their family working together to manage their difficulties. A family therapist will look at how a family interacts as a whole unit and develop strategies to overcome any problems that may arise from difficult relationships.

Hallucinations: When someone sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels something is not really there. An example of a hallucination is hearing voices.

Delusions: This is when someone believes something that isn’t true to most people. For example, you may believe that you have super powers or that someone is watching you.

Informal patient: Sometimes individuals may need to go into hospital for more intense support. An informal patient means that you are in hospital voluntarily.

Formal patient: Sometimes individuals may not agree to stay in hospital but professionals are concerned about their ability to keep themselves safe. In this instance, individuals may be admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act. If they are not in hospital voluntarily, they become a formal patient.

Key worker: This is someone who is identified as your main contact within a service.

Risk assessment: In order to keep you safe, those involved in your care will complete an assessment of any risks. These risks may include risks to yourself or others.

Self care: Refers to how you look after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Some people may develop a self care plan that they can refer to if they are going through a difficult time.

Multi-disciplinary team: A team that is made up of a number of professionals from different disciplines. For example, a community team may consist of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Psychotherapists, Mental Health practitioners and Assistant Psychologists.

Group therapy: Is a structured meeting that involves an individual talking to a number of other people who may have similar difficulties. It may be run by a mental health professional or a volunteer.

Confidentiality: Involves you talking to someone with the understanding that they won’t tell anyone else. Every effort is made to maintain confidentiality but, if you or someone else is at risk, they may need to tell someone else.

Referral: This is the process in which someone who knows you contacts CAMHS because they feel you need additional support.

Discharge: When you officially leave Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Capacity: Is the ability to understand, retain and make an informed decision about your care.

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