This section is here for patients and their families to understand some of the words and phrases used around them. If you think we have missed anything or it could be improved please let us know [email protected]
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.
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.
Approved Mental Health Practitioner – This role relates to the Mental Health Act. If someone needs compulsory treatment, they will be involved in that decision. They act in the best interests of the patient and ensure that they understand their rights and are treated with dignity.
Art Therapy – Feelings can often be more easily accessed through using imagination and creativity rather than thinking and talking. In Art Therapy sessions, you are encouraged to freely express your difficult thoughts and feelings using a variety of materials.
ASC – Autistic Spectrum Condition, a lifelong disability that affects how someone sees the world, processes information, and relates to other people.
ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a lifelong disability that affects how someone sees the world, processes information, and relates to other people.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – A common neuro-developmental disorder, occurring in around 2-5% of children and characterised by inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are impairing and associated with the development of long term negative outcomes.
Bulimia nervosa – Also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time. Purging refers to the attempts to get rid of the food consumed. This may be done by vomiting or taking laxatives.
CAMHS – Used as shorthand to describe child and adolescent mental health services. There are four different levels of services for children and adolescents with mental health problems – these are described as Tiers 1, 2, 3 or 4.
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 meetings 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.
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.
Complaint – the act of complaining; an expression of grievance, every provider has a complaints policy and procedure and these are available to anyone to see.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) – Cognitive analytic therapy is a kind of therapy that can be recommended for the treatment of anorexia. It looks at past events that may explain the unhealthy thoughts that cause your anorexia, and helps you to recognise and find ways to break the unhealthy patterns.
Code of Practice – Government guidance on the duties of local authorities, schools, colleges, health services and others who support children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you to deal with problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. It focuses on current problems and how to change negative thought patterns to develop healthy ways of coping with them. This therapy is often recommended as part of the treatment for all kinds of eating disorders. It can be adapted to the needs of people with particular illnesses, such as bulimia (CBT-BN) or binge eating disorder (CBT-BED).
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.
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.
DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service, all people who support children and young people need to have a current DBS check.
Dietician – A qualified health professional who can assess, diagnose and treat dietary problems. They are registered with a professional body, the Health and Care Professions Council.
DfE – Department of Education, UK government department with responsibility for infant, primary and secondary education.
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.
Disability – A mental or physical impairment which strongly affects a person’s ability to carry out normal daily activities.
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.
Education setting – A general phrase to describe a place where a child or young person receives their education, for example a nursery, school or college.
Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment – A formal assessment carried out by a local authority to decide how much extra support a child or young person needs.
EHC plan – A legal document issued by the local authority describing a child or young person’s education, health and social care needs and the support that will be given to them.
Family therapy – Family interventions may be recommended for children and adolescents with eating disorders. This kind of therapy involves family members, acknowledging that the eating disorder can impact the people around the sufferer and helping them to better understand the illness.
Formal patient – A person who is legally kept in hospital under a section of The Mental Health Act (MHA) (often called “a section”).
Health provision – The medical care or support set out in an EHC plan. This could include medication, nursing or special equipment.
Independent school – A school that is not maintained by the state and charges fees. They are often run by a charity or charitable trust. Independent schools will have their own policies on admissions and exclusions. Independent schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Some independent schools provide education specifically for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).
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 (MHA).
ISA – Independent Safeguarding Authority, created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable adults or children.
Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)/Section 139a assessment – An assessment of needs carried out before a young person with SEN moves from school to further education. The local authority must arrange this for a pupil with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
LEA – Local education authorities (LEAs) are the local councils in England and Wales that are responsible for education within their jurisdiction. The term is used to identify which council (district or county) is locally responsible for education.
Local offer – Information published by the local authority about the education, health and social care support available in the area for children and young people with SEN and disabilities.
Mainstream school – Any school that is not a special school.
Modified Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) – This is a kind of therapy that focuses on your ability to control and regulate your emotional responses, and it can be adapted to help treat binge eating disorder.
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.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Obsessive compulsive disorder (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.
Ofsted – Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Inspects and regulates care for children and young people, and inspects education and training for learners of all ages.
Occupational Therapy (OT) – the use of treatments to develop or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or developmental condition.
Outcomes – The benefit or difference that a particular bit of help makes to a child or young person.
Personal budget – An amount of money which can be used to buy support described in an EHC plan. A young person or their family can have a say in how the budget is used.
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.
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.
Psychiatrist – A doctor who specialises in psychiatry, the field of medicine that involves the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.
Psychiatry – branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
Psychology – the scientific study of all forms of the function of behaviour, sometimes concerned with how behaviour can be modified.
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 trained in psychology, the study of how people think and behave. You might work with a clinical psychologist if you go through some form of therapy as part of your treatment. It’s advisable to check your psychologist is registered with the British Psychological Society. 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.
SEBD – social, emotional & behavioural difficulties.
SaLT – Speech and Language Therapy – support with communication, also with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).
SSD – Social Services Department.
Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) – Statements were replaced by EHC plans in Sept 2014. Existing Statements will be transferred by April 2018.
SEN – Special educational needs (SEN) is a legal term. It describes the needs of a child who has a difficulty or disability which makes learning harder for them than for other children their age. Around one in five children has SEN at some point during their school years.
SENCO – Special educational needs coordinator: a qualified teacher in a mainstream nursery or school who arranges the extra help for pupils with SEN.
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 Anxiety Disorder – Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia). If you have a social phobia, the thought of being seen in public or appearing at social events can make you feel very anxious and frightened.
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.
Special educational provision – A general term for any extra help given to children or young people with SEN that is over and above the help normally given to pupils of their age in
mainstream education settings.
Special school – A school that provides education only for pupils with special educational needs. Some special schools provide for pupils with moderate or severe learning difficulties. Many special schools provide for a particular type of need such as autism, visual impairment or dyslexia.
Statement of special educational needs – A legal document issued by the local authority describing a child’s SEN and the support they will receive. From September 2014 statements have been replaced by EHC plans.
Tribunal – A tribunal is a special court or committee that is appointed to deal with particular problems.
Transfer review – A process carried out by the local authority to transfer a statement into an EHC plan.
Ward manager – The senior nurse in charge of running a hospital ward.
Young person – A child becomes a young person when they have reached the end of compulsory schooling. This is the end of the school year in which they turn 16 – year 11 for most pupils. A young person between 16 and 25 has the right to make their own decisions related to their EHC plan.