Glossary

A & E

‘Accident and Emergency’, or casualty, is the name given to the hospital department that deals with genuine life threatening conditions or problems such as chest pain, breathing problems, severe mental health problems, such as suicide or confusion, amongst others.

Hospital might be the best option for reducing the risk of harm if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, whether that’s self-harm or suicide. When you’re facing a mental health crisis, attending A&E can keep you safe and offer any immediate treatment you might need.

Addiction (including drugs, alcohol, sex, gaming, gambling, eating)

Addiction is often linked to mental health problems. If you have an addiction, it may have started as a way to cope with feelings you felt unable to deal with in any other way. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by compulsive seeking, continued use/behaviour despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It’s considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness.

Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS)

Services that can help adults with mental health problems.

Anxiety

Anxiety is considered as fear, worry, uneasiness or nervousness. While it’s a feeling everyone will experience at some point in their lives, anxiety can be a debilitating condition when left untreated. 

For some, anxiety might be in relation to an activity or event. In other cases, anxiety disorders are a chronic condition which dramatically impacts a person’s livelihood because it’s difficult to manage and can affect their ability to go about their normal days. Anxiety can take many forms and there are multiple conditions people can be affected by.

Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. It used to be known as manic depression. Symptoms include depression – feeling very low and lethargic mania – and feeling very high or overactive.

Care Plan

Your Care Plan is put together by a trained professional (social worker, occupational therapist, physiotherapist etc) and it puts details in place to meet your individual needs. It also contains contact details for your care providers.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Statutory services to help support young people under the age of 18yrs with mental health issues. They can help with psychologists, psychiatrists, one-to-one therapy sessions, and sometimes, medication.

Chronic condition

A condition affecting your health that lasts one year or more, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis etc.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A type of one-to-one Talking Therapy which can be delivered by a therapist. CBT often looks at feelings and behaviours, and aims to help reduce negative thoughts and unhelpful behaviours. Often your therapist might work with you to set tasks to complete in between sessions. Sessions are typically 50 minutes in length and held once per week for anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks. CBT may be face-to-face, over the phone or over video call. There are also some helpful CBT resources and workbooks you can print and work through yourself.

Community care/support

Services put in place to support you living with dignity and independence. They can range from attending services such as assisting the elderly at home to services such as local support groups.

Counselling

Counselling is a type of one-to-one support where you talk to someone about the challenges you’re facing. A counsellor can help you understand yourself better and improve your coping skills. It’s a confidential service that doesn’t seek to give advice or opinions, and instead, it supports you to make those decisions yourself. Sessions last for 50 minutes and happen once per week. Usually for a minimum of 6 weeks or for as long as you feel is helpful.

Counsellor

Counsellors are trained to listen to you and provide a confidential service.. They give you a safe space to explore how you’re feeling and to talk about the challenges you may be facing.

Creative Therapies

Similar to counselling, this is usually a one-to-one therapy, but instead of simply talking, you use the arts (music, art, drama or sand play) to better understand how you might be feeling. These therapies are extremely helpful for people who may find it hard to talk or those who want to explore themselves in a way different to talking therapy. Participating in creative activities can improve your wellbeing and confidence. Group creative activities are a great way to meet people, too. Learn more about Play Therapy and Art Therapy

Depression

Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your everyday life. In its mildest form, depression can mean just feeling low. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life, but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal.

Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are a group of related conditions including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Symptoms of an eating disorder include worrying about your weight, eating too little or making yourself sick after eating. Treatment for an eating disorder depends on the type of condition you have. It usually involves talking therapy.

Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Therapy – known as ‘tapping’ – is a treatment for physical pain, emotional stress and anxiety. Research shows that EFT regulates our nervous system, reduces stress and lowers anxiety. EFT is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Read more here.

Family Therapy

Family Therapy is a type of counseling where family members can work together to improve communication by working alongside a psychologist, therapist or clinical social worker. Using talking and problem-solving, families can identify patterns of behaviour which may be causing mental distress and find resolution to conflicts.

Group Therapy

Similar to counselling. Usually there would be one trained therapist and several other participants. Group therapy is a great way to explore anger, anxiety and self-esteem in a safe group environment, where the participants learn from one another. It often combines different types of therapy, like talking therapy or creative therapy.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

GAD means having regular or uncontrollable worries about many different things in your everyday life. Because there are lots of possible symptoms of anxiety this can be quite a broad diagnosis, meaning that the problems you experience with GAD might be quite different from another person’s experiences.

General Practitioner

This is your local doctor. They are often the first person you call if it isn’t an emergency, but you’re physically or emotionally unwell.

Holistic

A holistic approach means to support a person’s entire wellbeing, including their physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects. Holistic support is unique to the individual and would assess how different practices and therapies could help overall wellness, as opposed to looking at an isolated condition or issue.

Intervention

An intervention is the act of inserting one thing between others, like a person trying to help. You could be the subject of a school intervention if your teachers call your parents about the bad grades you’ve been hiding or a medical intervention when a gp prescribes a therapy or medication.

Mental Health

When people think of their health, they often think of physical health. But our minds are equally as important in our overall wellbeing. When our mental health is well, it means we’re able to live our lives the way we want to by thinking, feeling and reacting in ways which feel under our control and don’t put a strain on our livelihoods.

Mental Illness

The opposite of “wellness” is “illness” and just like our physical health, our mental health can be impacted by conditions or disorders which affect our thinking, actions and behaviour. Mental illnesses can include anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders, eating disorders and addictions.

OCD

OCD refers to a condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.  Although many people experience minor obsessions (such as worrying about leaving the gas on or if the door is locked) and compulsions (such as avoiding the cracks in the pavement), these don’t significantly interfere with daily life, or they are short-lived.

 

If you experience OCD, it’s likely that your obsessions and compulsions will have a big impact on how you live your life and interfere with your ability to have relationships, start new jobs or courses or even leave home.

Out-of-hours GP

GP out-of-hours operate from 6pm on weekdays and 24hours on weekends. They offer emergency appointments that cannot wait until your normal GP practice opens. See out of hours contact numbers:

 

  • Belfast HSC Trust

(North & West) 028 9074 4447

(South & East) 028 9079 6220

 

  • South Eastern HSC Trust

(North Down & Ards) 028 9182 2344

(Lisburn & Downpatrick) 028 9260 2204

 

  • Dalriada Urgent Care (Northern Trust area)

028 2566 3500

 

  • Southern HSC Trust

028 3839 9201

 

  • Western Urgent Care

028 7186 5195

 

  • Text Relay: Dial 18001 followed by the full

GP Out-of-Hours telephone number.

Personality Disorder

Our personality is how we think and feel, and is unique to each individual. It also depends on the situation we are in, the people with us and many other factors. If you experience significant difficulties in how you relate to yourself and others, or if you have problems coping day-to-day, you might receive a diagnosis of personality disorder.

 

We understand the context and behaviours associated with personality disorders are myriad and in light of ongoing controversy around personality disorders, as examined by mind.org.uk, we fully respect the evolution of language and how terms of “disorder” in relation to someone’s personality can be stigmatising.

 

Understanding these conditions is important in building our awareness of an individual’s symptoms and how difficult they are to live with.

Currently, psychiatrists have identified ten types of personality disorder grouped into three categories. If a person meets the criteria for diagnosis of more than one type of disorder, this is sometimes called ‘mixed personality disorder’.

 

Suspicious:

 

  • Paranoid personality disorder

  • Schizoid personality disorder 

  • Schizotypal personality disorder

 

Emotional and impulsive:

 

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

  • Histrionic personality disorder

  • Narcissistic personality disorder

 

Anxious:

 

  • Avoidant personality disorder

  • Dependent personality disorder

  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Psychiatrist

This is a medically trained doctor who specialises in issues around mental health. They can help you access treatments and medication, and also support you through therapy sessions.

Psychologist

A psychologist is someone who is trained to assess and study mental processes and a person’s behaviour. They can help with coping skills and one-to-one therapy sessions.
Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy usually involves talking to a therapist, but sometimes other methods may be used – for example, art, music, drama and movement. It can help you discuss feelings you have about yourself and other people, particularly family and those close to you. In some cases, couples or families are offered joint therapy sessions together.

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic experience. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can include flashbacks, nightmares, feeling very anxious and difficulty sleeping.

Referral

If you are interested in using a service or have been advised to use a service, you might complete a referral. This would provide your details to the organisation who can help, so they can get in touch with you and help you.

Risk Assessment

When a trained person assesses a situation or a person for risk of harm. This could include assessing a floor for risk of falling or tripping, or assessing a client or user for risk of self harm.

Talking Therapies

There are many types of talking therapies. The most common are counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).They involve talking with a therapist about your feelings and things that you find challenging in day-to-day life, and often things from the past.

Therapist

This is a trained professional who is trained to listen to you and give you a safe space to explore how you’re feeling and talk about the challenges you may be facing. They provide a confidential service.
There are different types of therapists, such as psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counsellor.

Therapy

This is a type of treatment to help improve your mental health and wellbeing. There are lots of different types of therapies, including CBT, counselling, art therapy, sand therapy and many more.

Transition

This is when someone moves on from a children’s service to an adult service. For example, when someone moves on from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS).
We often also use the word transition to describe when someone moves from Primary to secondary school, or from secondary school into the workplace. It can also be used to describe the process by which someone who is transgender changes from one gender to another.

Social Worker

Social workers support individuals and their families through difficult times and ensure that vulnerable people, including children and adults, are safeguarded from harm. Their role is to help improve outcomes in people’s lives. They also work closely with other professionals in health and social care.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition where you may see, hear or believe things that are not real. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing voices or seeing things that are not real, unusual beliefs and confused thinking. Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of talking therapies and medicine.

Speech and Language Therapy | RCSLT

Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing