General Terms and Services


  • A
  • Abuse

    Harm that is caused by anyone who has power over another person.

  • Acute

    In relation to an illness, means arising suddenly with intense severity of relatively short duration.

  • Adult at Risk

    An adult who is in need of extra support because of their age, disability, or physical or mental health, and who may be unable to protect themselves from harm, neglect or exploitation.

  • Adult Social Care

    Care and support for adults who need extra help to manage their lives and be independent.

  • Advocacy

    Promotes the cause of another person to secure the services they require and their rights.

  • After care

    This is the support or care that a person can expect to receive once discharged from inpatient care. Typically a discharge plan will be developed by the multidisciplinary team with the service user which will make clear what care and support will be provided.

  • Assessment

    An assessment is carried out when an individual first accesses services; when information is collected in order to identify the person's needs and plan treatment.

  • B
  • Better Care Fund

    Money that has been given by the government to local areas to make the NHS and local councils in England work together better.

  • Bibliotherapy

    The use of books as a means of providing psychological therapy.

  • C
  • Care Package

    The range of services offered to you as an individual by your council, following an assessment of your needs. It may include day services, aids and adaptions for your home and personal care.

  • Care Plan

    A written plan after you have had an assessment, setting out what your care and support needs are, how they will be met and what services you will receive.

  • Care Programme Approach (CPA)

    A plan that involves the person who uses certain mental health services to be involved in their care and support.

  • Care Worker

    A person who is paid to support someone who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help.

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

    Promotes the mental health and psychological wellbeing of children and young people.

    Click here for more information.

  • Chronic

    In relation to an illness, means developing slowly or of long duration.

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

    A talking therapy which involves working with people to help them change their thoughts and behaviour.

    Click here more information

  • Community Mental Health Team

    A team of professionals who can support you in your own home, rather than in a hospital, if you have a complex or serious mental health problem.

  • Community wellbeing

    An approach that looks at the health and wellbeing of the whole community.

  • Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CCBT)

    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy training delivered via a computer.

    Click here for more information

  • Confidentiality

    This means that whatever information you tell to a Service will not be passed on and the person you see won’t tell anyone that you’ve been to see him or her without your permission. It gets more complicated if you want to talk to the Service about something that he or she thinks may be harming you or someone else.

    Click here for more information

  • Consultation

    Meeting with an expert, such as a medical doctor, in order to seek help and advice.

  • Counselling

    A talking therapy which aims to help people develop insight into their problems and identify resources within themselves which they can use to cope more effectively with their situation.

  • Criminal Records Bureau

    The CRB service enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involve children or vulnerable adults.

  • Crisis Intervention

    A way of helping people cope at a time of crisis when they are overwhelmed, and enabling them to remain in their home.

  • D
  • Data Protection

    The purpose of data protection is to make sure that your personal data (information) is accurate and not processed or passed on without your knowledge and permission, except in certain cases.

    Click here for more information

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

    This is a benefit which is given to those who have difficulties caring for themselves and/or who need support to get out and about.  This benefit can enable individuals to live and work independently in the community.

    Click here for more information

  • Drop-in

    Drop-In services are usually informal sessions over a set time where people can come along and find out about a range of services, gain support and meet new people. Washington Mind ‘Open Mind’ sessions aim is to provide a safe, relaxed and non-stigmatising place for people who are experiencing or who have experienced mental health problems.

  • Dual diagnosis

    Dual diagnosis refers to two or more disorders affecting one person. For example, mental illness and learning disability. It is also used to indicate that a person who has been diagnosed with a mental health problem also misuses substances, such as illegal drugs, legal drugs or alcohol.

  • E
  • Early Intervention

    Action that is taken at an early stage to prevent problems worsening at a later stage.

  • Emotional resilience

    Refers to a person’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to "bounce back" and adapt to hard times without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor.

    Click here for more information

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    A type of benefit claimed by people who cannot work because of illness or disability.

    Click here for more information

  • Empowerment

    The process of service users equipping themselves with knowledge, skills and resources they need to take control over their decisions.

  • Expert Patients Programme

    A programme of weekly classes to help you manage you own health and live as well as possible with a long-term condition.

  • F
  • Focus Group

    A small group of people brought together to talk. The purpose is to listen and gather information, it is a good way to find out how people feel or think about an issue, or come up with solutions to problems.

  • G
  • Group-work

    Therapeutic groups enable individuals to share experiences, learn and develop coping strategies and access support e.g. bereavement, depression, anxiety groups etc. Alternative groups enable people to share interests in a safe, supportive environment e.g arts and crafts, walking, book and film clubs.

  • H
  • Health Champions

    The Health Champion programme provides training; all elements are based on supporting people to actively manage their health behaviour and to promote behaviour change by reducing/ removing barriers, so we have a systematic approach to reducing health inequalities.

  • Health Trainer

    NHS Health Trainers work with clients on a one-to-one basis to assess their health and lifestyle risks, providing motivation and practical support to individuals in their local communities.

  • Holistic / Alternative/Complementary Therapies

    A range of evidence-based holistic therapies including Clinical Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, Reflexology, Life Coaching, Relaxation and Hypnotherapy.

  • Holistic Care

    Care and support that treats you as a whole person and considers all your needs at the same time. Physical, Psychological, social and spiritual.

  • I
  • IAPT

    Improving Access to Psychological Therapies is an NHS programme rolling out services across England offering interventions approved by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating people with depression and anxiety disorders.

  • Independent Advocacy

    Advocacy enables the individual to have their voice heard, identify their issues/concerns whilst allowing the advocate to explore realistic options.

  • Information sharing

    The responsibility of professionals across agencies to share relevant information to ensure that everyone involved in a person's care is informed.

  • Information/Advice & Signposting

    Offer information either about services or particular issues (e.g. mental health). Not all will give advice and some may ‘signpost’ or direct you to other services that may better suit your needs.

  • K
  • Key Worker

    This is a named individual who is designated as your main contact and support worker within a service.

  • L
  • Listening Services

    Trained listeners do not provide therapy or advisory services but use active listening skills to offer support.

  • M
  • Memory Protection Services (MPS)

    Provide access to information, support and specialist diagnosis, followed by a range of interventions within the context of the National Dementia Strategy.

  • Mental Capacity Act

    A law that is designed to protect people who are unable to make decisions about their own care and support, property and finances.

  • Mental Health Act

    The Mental Health Act 1983 is the law under which a person can be admitted, detained and treated in hospital against their wishes. The Act covers the rights of people while they are detained, how they can be discharged from hospital and what aftercare they can expect to receive.

    Click here for more information

  • Mentoring

    Mentoring is where knowledge, skills and experience is offered in a supportive and challenging environment (much like coaching/befriending).

  • Multidisciplinary Team

    A team of different professionals such as doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, social workers and others working together to provide care and support that meets yours needs.

  • N
  • National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

    Does research and evaluations about treatments available, also publishes guidance and advice about these treatments.

    Click here for more information

  • P
  • Psychology

    Is the scientific study of behaviour.

  • Psychotherapy

    The treatment of mental health, emotional and personality problems through talking with a therapist. There are many different types of psychotherapy.

  • R
  • Recovery

    Building a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by the person themselves, whether or not there are ongoing or recurring symptoms or problems, find more information here:

  • Recovery / Outcome Star

    The Outcomes Star is a unique suite tools which both measures and supports progress for service users towards self-reliance or other goals. The Stars are designed to be completed collaboratively.

    Click here for more information

  • Referral either Self/Professional

    When a person is ‘referred’ to a particular service we call this a ‘referral’.  Some services accept referrals from the person themselves (self), others accept referrals only from professionals (e.g. GPs).

  • Risk Assessment

    This is a record of any risks that are associated with working with you. It generally covers areas such as risk to self, risk to public, risk to family, risk to children and risk of exploitation. For instance, someone who has had suicidal thoughts, or who has attempted suicide would come under the category of risk to themselves.

  • S
  • Self-Referral

    This means an individual can access a service themselves without needing a referral form from someone else e.g. GP. Different organisation will have different ways to do this such as telephone, online form or in person.

  • Service User

    A controversial term used to describe the people who are accessing mental health services.

  • Service User Led Groups

    Led by people with similar issues who use the services themselves. Service user driven services are where people are actively engaged and involved in developing services. Peer support groups are where people with similar issues support one another.

  • Social Prescribing

    Social prescribing refers to the process of linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the community, largely through Primary Care. It includes, for example, arts, learning and exercise on referral, bibliotherapy, self-help materials, volunteering and time banks.

  • Stepped Care

    A stepped care recovery model seeks to treat service users at the lowest appropriate service tier in the first instance, only 'stepping up' to intensive/specialist services as clinically required.

    Click here for more information

  • Stigma and Discrimination

    despite mental illness being common it is still surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear.  Although  attitudes about sexuality, ethnicity and other similar issues improving, discrimination against people with mental health problems is still widespread. Many people say that being discriminated against in work and social situations can be a bigger burden than the illness itself.

    Click here for more information

  • T
  • Talking Treatments

    These are psychological treatments in which improvement in a person's symptoms or wellbeing is achieved by talking with a therapist or counsellor rather than, or as well as, taking medication.

  • Telehealth

    Telehealth has been defined by the Department of Health as a service that "uses equipment to monitor people's health in their own home (monitoring vital signs such as blood pressure, blood oxygen levels or weight) (DoH 2009)".

  • Triage

    Many services use a Triage decision process of sorting patients to the level of care that best meets their needs.  Documentation can be completed over the telephone  or in person and includes gathering information from the patient to determine the types of resources required to provide effective care, the patient's expectations, and several other factors.

    Click here to access an example of a triage form.

  • U
  • User Involvement

    User involvement refers to a variety of ways in which people who use health services can be involved in the development, maintenance and improvement of services. This includes patient satisfaction questionnaires, focus groups, representation on committees, involvement in training and user-led presentations and projects.

  • W
  • Wellbeing

    Being in a position where you have good physical and mental health, control over your day-to-day life, good relationships, enough money, and the opportunity to take part in the activities that interest you.

  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)

    A WRAP is a simple self-help system for identifying personal resources and then using those resources to stay well and help you when you are not.

    Click here for more information