Glossary of Terms

General Definitions of Behavioral Health & Recovery Terms

Accessible services – are services that are affordable, located nearby, open during evenings and weekends, sensitive to individual and cultural values, and can handle consumer demand without placing people on a long waiting list.

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

Adjustment disorders – are characterized by inappropriate or inadequate adjustments to a life stressor; the symptoms may be similar to the symptoms of other mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and/or behavioral symptoms.

Advance directives - set out a patient's wishes in writing concerning their care or treatment.

Advice - means recommending what to do.

Advocacy - promotes the cause of another person to secure the services they require and their rights.

Advocacy groups – are organizations that work in a variety of ways to create change with issues that affect society. (NAMI  and Youth Sound are examples)

Affective - means related to or resulting from the emotions.

Affective disorders - are a class of disorders characterized by disturbances in mood or the emotions; also called mood disorders; includes bipolar disorder, cyclothymia, depression, dysthymia.

Aggressive behavior - is verbal and/or physical actions or serious intentions, the consequences of which are likely to cause actual damage and/or distress.

Agoraphobia – is often related to panic disorder and is characterized by a fear of being in situations that might provoke a panic attack, or from which escape might be difficult if one occurred.

Alcohol abuse - means a pattern of alcohol use leading to significant impairment or distress; see also substance abuse and substance dependence.

Alzheimer's disease - is progressive dementia caused by destruction of brain cells.  It usually occurs later in life.

Amnesia – means temporary or permanent loss of memory.

Anorexia nervosa - is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to eat or eating too little to meet ones daily caloric needs.

Antipsychotics - are a group of medications used to treat psychotic illnesses.

Anti-social personality disorder – is a personality disorder characterized by chronic antisocial behavior and violation of the law and the rights of others; see also personality disorders.

Anxiety disorders – are a class of disorders characterized by abnormal or inappropriate anxiety; includes panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Apathy – is a lack of emotion or interest in things one would ordinarily consider Important; it is a symptom of several mental health challenges.

Appeal process — is a series of steps you must follow to get a decision about services reviewed and changed.

Assertive outreach - is an approach to engaging with individuals with a severe mental health challenges who may be difficult to reach; it involves providing services in the community that are accessible 24 hours a day and visits to service users in their own homes.

Assessment - is the gathering and appraisal of information in order to identify a person's needs and strengths.

Atypical antipsychotic medications – are newer medications used to treat symptoms of psychosis.  They are chemically different from previous medications used and are thought to be less likely to cause involuntary movement side effects.

Autonomy – means to be self-governing.

Best practices – are activities or programs that are in keeping with the best available evidence regarding what is effective.

Bipolar disorder – is a serious affective disorder, typically beginning in adolescence or early adulthood, in which dramatic swings between manic “highs” and depressed “lows” alternate with periods of normal mood; also called manic depression.

Bulimia nervosa - is an eating disorder characterized by eating binges followed by purging (vomiting, using laxatives, etc.)

Case manager – is the health care professional who works directly with consumer or children and their families to coordinate various activities, services and supports, and acts as the consumer’s primary contact with other members of their treatment teams; also called rehabilitation specialist, service coordinator, social worker.

Case management – is a service that helps people arrange for appropriate services and supports. A case manager coordinates mental health, social work, educational, health, vocational, transportation, advocacy, respite care, and recreational services, as needed.

Child protective services – is a service designed to safeguard a child when abuse, neglect, or abandonment is suspected, or when there is no family to take care of the child.  Help delivered in the home include financial assistance, vocational training, homemaker services, and daycare. If in-home supports are insufficient, the child may be removed from the home on a temporary or permanent basis.

Chronic - in relation to an illness, means developing slowly or of long duration.

Clinical psychologist – is a mental health professional with highly specialized training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental health challenges.

Clinical team – is a multi-disciplinary team of mental health professionals under the leadership of a clinical supervisor.

Clubhouse - is derived from the Fountain House model of psychiatric rehabilitation; it is a club that belongs to everyone who participates in it, providing supportive companionship and opportunities for employment.

Cognitive/cognition – means the general ability to organize, process, and recall information.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - is a talking treatment designed to ease stress from emotional problems; it addresses personal beliefs which may result in negative emotional responses, concentrating on understanding behavior rather than the actual cause of a problem.

Cognitive disability - is where a person experiences a loss of functioning that causes difficulties for them in undertaking basic activities of daily living.

Cognitive disorders – are a class of disorders characterized by significant negative changes in the way a person thinks and/or remembers; includes delirium, dementia, amnesia, etc.

Collaboration - is where professionals and/or agencies with linked functions work effectively together on common issues, including the provision of care to an individual person.

Community – is a group of people residing in the same locality or sharing a common interest.

Community care - is the provision of services and support for people who are affected by a range of problems, including mental health challenges, to enable them to live as independently as possible in their own homes or in other home-like settings.

Community mental health agencies (CMHAs) – are groups of professionals providing mental health services for a locality.

Comorbidity – is the occurrence of two or more disorders at the same time; see also co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis.

Compulsive behavior/compulsions – means performing repetitive and often senseless acts, often in response to an obsession; see also obsessive compulsive disorder.

Confidentiality – is the protection and proper use of patient information. Information given or received for one purpose may not be used for a different purpose or passed to anyone else without the consent of the provider of the information.

Consumer - is a term to describe someone who uses or has used mental health services because of mental health challenges or a disability; within service provider organizations, also called a Peer.

Continuum of care – is a term that implies a progression of services that a consumer or child moves through, usually one service at a time. More recently, it has come to mean comprehensive services. Also see system of care and wraparound services.

Contract - is any agreement enforceable by law.

Co-occurring disorder – see dual diagnosis

Coordination - means bringing people together to work together efficiently.

Coordinated services – means that several child-serving or consumer-serving organizations talk with the family or consumer and agree upon a plan of care that meets the child's or consumer’s needs. These organizations can include mental health, education, juvenile justice, adult criminal justice and child welfare. Case management is necessary to coordinate services. Also see family centered services and wraparound services.

Counseling - aims to help people develop insight into their problems and identify resources within themselves that they can use to cope more effectively with their situation; see also psychotherapy.

Criminal justice system - includes all agencies involved in criminal justice including the police, probation service, courts and prisons.

Crisis - is a time of extreme trouble.

Crisis residential treatment services – are short-term, round-the-clock help provided in a non-hospital setting during a crisis.

Cultural competence/culturally appropriate services – means a set of values, attitudes and practices held by an organization or individual service provider that are sensitive and responsive to cultural differences.  These differences can include race and ethnicity, national origin, language, beliefs, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, or family values and customs.

Culture – is the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communication, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, faith or social group.

Cyclothymia – is a lesser form of bipolar disorder with less extreme highs and lows; see also bipolar disorder.

Day treatment - includes special education, counseling, vocational training, skill building, crisis intervention, and recreational therapy, provided in conjunction with other mental health services.

De-escalate – means to lower the intensity of a situation; often refers to a way of communicating with a person when they are upset or in crisis.

Deinstitutionalization – is the process of releasing individuals from psychiatric institutions.

Delirium – is a temporary state of cognitive disturbance and fluctuating consciousness resulting from medical conditions such as a high fever, intoxication, shock, or other causes. Symptoms may include anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherent speech.

Delusion – a symptom of many mental health challenges, a delusion is an illogical belief that is held strongly, even in the face of evidence that it is false.

Dementia - is an irreversible deterioration of brain function, affecting memory, thinking and reasoning. It is frequently seen in older patients, and is usually accompanied by emotional disturbances and personality changes.  See also Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression – refers to a spectrum of mood disorders, ranging from passing sad moods to serious, debilitating disease requiring medical treatment.  Major (clinical) depression is a “whole body” disorder, impacting the patient’s emotions (feelings of guilt and hopelessness or loss of pleasure in once enjoyed activities), thinking (persistent thoughts of death or suicide; difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions), behavior (changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or weight), and even their physical well-being (persistent symptoms, such as headaches or digestive disorders, that do not respond to treatment); see also bipolar disorder.

Disability – is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Discharge plan - is a care plan for people being discharged from a hospital or residential center.

Discharge planner – is the person on the hospital or residence staff who makes plans for an individual’s health care outside of the hospital; this can be a nurse, doctor, resident/intern, or social worker.

Disclose – means to share or make known.

Dissociative disorders – are a class of disorder characterized by a disruption in consciousness, memory, identity, or perception, often following a traumatic event; includes dissociative amnesia (memory gaps related to trauma or extreme stress); dissociative fugue (where an individual assumes a new identity after a traumatic event); depersonalization  disorder (where a person feels that their body does not belong to them); and dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder (the presence of two or more distinct personalities within one individual).

Diverse – means differing from one another.

Diversion - refers to the movement of an individual from the criminal justice system to health and/or social care.

Drop-in centers - are venues without structured activity where consumers can socialize.

Drug dependence - occurs when an individual persists in using a drug despite problems related to the use of the drug, such as legal, health, family, occupational or other problems resulting from the drug use.  It can be diagnosed either with or without physical dependence, which means issues of tolerance to and withdrawal from the substance.

DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition)  –  is an official manual of mental health challenges developed by the American

Psychiatric Association – Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other health and mental health care providers use this reference book to understand and diagnose mental health challenges.

Dual diagnosis – can mean the combination of mental health challenges with other conditions, including alcohol abuse, drug abuse, a learning disability, or a physical disability.  Also called comorbidity or co-occurring disorders.

Dyskinesia – is an impairment in the ability to control movements, characterized by spasmodic or repetitive motions or lack of coordination; it is often seen as a side effect from antipsychotic medications see also tardive dyskinesia.

Dysthymia – is a lesser, but more persistent, form of depression; see also depression.

Early intervention – is a process used to recognize warning signs for mental health challenges and to take early action against factors that put individuals at risk.

Eating disorders – are a class of disorders characterized by disturbances in eating behavior; includes anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Electroconvulsive therapy – is a treatment for serious mental health challenges, [such] as severe depressive disorders, involving the application to the head of electric current in order to induce a seizure: usually administered after sedatives and muscle relaxants. Abbreviation: ECT

Eligibility criteria - are guidelines used when a person seeks mental health services to determine the priority of their need and the degree of risk, in order to make decisions about the appropriate use of services.  These may include age, disability, income, or type of insurance.

Emergency and crisis services - a group of services that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help during a mental health emergency. Examples include telephone crisis hotlines, suicide hotlines, crisis counseling, crisis residential treatment services, crisis outreach teams, and crisis respite care.

Empathize – means to identify with or develop an understanding of another’s situation, feelings, or motives.

Empower - means to give authority, control and confidence to a previously disadvantaged group or person.

Environmental approach – is an approach to mental health treatment that attempts to influence either the physical environment (such as reducing access to lethal means) or the social environment (such as providing work or academic


Epidemiology – is the study of statistics and trends in health and disease across communities.

Evaluation – is the systematic investigation of the value and impact of an intervention or program.

Evidence-based – means programs that have undergone scientific evaluation and have proven to be effective.

Factitious disorder - is a mental disorder where an individual intentionally produces or feigns symptoms in order to assume to “sick role” and be cared for or pitied by others.

Family-centered services – are services designed to meet the specific needs of each individual child and family; see also appropriate services, coordinated services, wraparound services, and cultural competence.

Family focused — means an approach to designing and providing services that views the child as a member of a family and recognizes that everyone in a family can be affected by how the others act, what they say, or how they feel or are doing in school or work. Decisions about services are made considering the strengths and needs of the family as a whole as well as the individual child with a mental health challenge.

Family support services – are services designed to keep the family together, while coping with mental health challenges that affect them. These services may include consumer information workshops, in-home supports, family therapy, parenting training, crisis services, and respite care.

Forensic psychiatry - means psychiatry pertaining to or connected with courts of law.

Frequency – refers to the number of occurrences of a disease or injury in a given unit of time.

Gatekeepers – are those individuals in a community who have face-to-face contact with large numbers of community members as part of their usual routine; they may be trained to identify persons with mental health needs and refer them to treatment or supporting services as appropriate.

Generalized anxiety disorder - is a disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive worry and anxiety that is difficult to control and is accompanied by increased physiological arousal (such as restlessness, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, irritability, difficulty concentrating, or being easily fatigued).

Goal – is a broad and high-level statement of general purpose to guide planning around an issue; it is focused on the end result of the work.

Hallucination – is a false or distorted perception of objects or events, including sensations of sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch, typically accompanied by a powerful sense of their reality.

Health care - is medical and nursing care.

Health promotion –  enables people to increase their control over the factors that influence their health, thereby improving their health.

Holistic - means considering the whole person in the treatment of their illness; i.e. their physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and social needs.

Home-based services – refers to help provided in a family's home either for a defined period of time or for as long as it takes to deal with a mental health problem without removing the child from the home; these can include parent training, counseling, and working with family members to identify, find, or provide other necessary help.  Also called in-home supports.

Homelessness - describes people living in a broad spectrum of unsatisfactory housing conditions ranging from cardboard boxes and park benches through night shelters and direct access hostels to bed a breakfast accommodation or even sleeping on a friend's floor.

Hospital leave – is the right to leave the hospital grounds temporarily, often with a family member or care provider; leave must be approved by the hospital staff.

Hypomania - is where someone is mildly manic (high); see mania.

Impulse control disorders – are a class of specific disorders where it is impossible or extremely difficult for an individual to control impulses, despite the negative consequences; includes intermittent explosive disorder (failure to resist aggressive, violent or destructive impulses), kleptomania (stealing objects that are not needed), pyromania (starting fires for pleasure or relief of tension), pathological gambling, and trichtillomania (pulling out one’s own hair).

Imminent – means likely to happen at any moment.

Independent living services – refers to support for a young person living on his or her own, which teaches youth how to handle financial, medical, housing, transportation, and other daily living needs, as well as how to get along with others.  Services may include therapeutic group homes, supervised apartment living, and job placement.

Individual service plan – see service plan

Individualized services – are services designed to meet the unique needs of each child and family, taking into the needs and strengths, ages, and stages of development of the child and individual family members; see also appropriate services and family-centered services.

Initial referral — see intake

Inpatient hospitalization – refers to mental health treatment provided in a hospital setting 24 hours a day, usually for purposes of diagnosis/evaluation or acute short-term treatment when an individual is in crisis.

Institutionalization - is where people have been conditioned by living and being looked after in a particular place for a long time; it is normally applied to people in hospital but can equally applied to people cared for in their own homes where they have most things done for them.

Intake - is the process an agency or program uses to find out about a consumer or child and family for the first time and determine their eligibility for services; also called initial referral; see also eligibility criteria.

Internalization – means to take in information, beliefs, or attitudes and make them personal.

Intervention – is a strategy or approach that is intended to prevent an outcome or to alter the course of an existing condition (such as providing lithium for bipolar disorder or strengthening social support in a community). Intramuscular injections - are the administration of long-acting medication through injections into muscles.

Managed care – is a way to supervise the delivery of health care services. It may specify which service providers the insured consumer or family can see and may also limit the number of visits and kinds of services that are covered by insurance.

Mania - is abnormal elevation of mood and over-activity seen in bipolar disorder and other affective disorders. It may include the one or more of the following characteristics: tremendous activity and energy levels, an inability or unwillingness to sleep, a rapid flow of ideas, rapid speech and movement, inflated self-esteem, impulsive decision-making, irrational spending of money, lack of inhibition, bizarre behavior, and/or intense insights not normally experienced.  See also hypomania, bipolar disorder.

Manic depression – see bipolar disorder

Meaningful occupation - is occupation which is suitable for a person and which they would find personally rewarding.

Means – in the context of completing a suicide/safety assessment, is the instrument or object whereby a self-destructive act is carried out (i.e., firearm, poison, medication).

Media - is the term used to describe TV, radio, newspapers and journals.

Mental disorders due to a medical condition – is a way of classifying a mental health problem or symptom that is a secondary symptom of a physical problem (e.g., depression due to a thyroid problem that causes chemical imbalances in the body).

Mental health – refers to the way a person thinks, feels, and acts when faced with life's situations. Mental health is how people look at themselves, their lives,

and the other people in their lives; evaluate their challenges and problems; explore choices; handling stress; relate to other people; and make decisions.

Mental health services –  health services that are specially designed for the care and treatment of people with mental health challenges, including mental health challenges; includes hospital and other 24-hour services, intensive community services, ambulatory or outpatient services, medical management, case management, intensive psychosocial rehabilitation services, and other intensive

outreach approaches to the care of individuals with severe disorders.

Mental incapacity – is an inability to make decisions for yourself.

Methods – in the context of a suicide/safety assessment, are actions or

techniques which result in an individual inflicting self-harm (i.e. asphyxiation,

overdose, jumping).

Minority ethnic groups – are groups of people with a culture distinct from the

culture of the host country.

Mood disorders – see affective disorders

Morbidity– is the relative frequency of illness or injury, or the illness or injury rate, in

a community or population.

Mortality – is the relative frequency of death, or the death rate, in a community or population.

Motivation - is an incentive to do something.

Motivational Interviewing- Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own   motivation for and commitment to change.      

Mutual support groups - are groups where service users and/or family members

share their experiences and feelings about mental health challenges and generally help each other; also called self-help groups.

Needs assessment - is the process of assessing and monitoring health and social

care needs of a population.

Negative symptoms – are symptoms that take away from what is considered “normal,” such as lack of drive or initiative, social withdrawal, and apathy.  The term is usually used in reference to schizophrenia.

Neuroleptics – are a group of medications used to treat psychotic illnesses.

Non-discriminatory practice - means treating people as equals notwithstanding

differences of race, gender, sexuality, disability, age, etc.; see also cultural competence.

Nursing care home – is a home where care is provided by qualified nurses and

ancillary staff 24 hours a day.

Objective – is a specific and measurable statement that clearly identifies what is

to be achieved in a plan; it narrows a goal by specifying who, what, when and where or clarifies by how much, how many, or how often.

Obsessions – are repetitive thoughts which keep on intruding without good

reason; see also obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder – is a potentially disabling anxiety disorder in which individuals become entrapped in repetitive patterns of thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that are senseless, distressing, and extremely difficult to overcome.

Occupational therapist – is a person trained to provide therapy through creative activity that promotes recovery or rehabilitation.

Occupational therapy - assists people to achieve their maximum level of independence though creative or vocational activities and skill-building.

Outcomes - are measurable results, such as a change in the health of an individual or group of people that is attributable to an intervention.

Outputs - are the range, quantity and quality of services provided.

Outreach programs – are programs that send staff into communities to deliver services or recruit participants.

Panic attack - is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort in which at least four of the following symptoms develop: accelerated heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feeling of chocking, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, fear of dying or losing control, numbness, or chills or hot flashes.

Panic disorder – is an anxiety disorder in which a person experiences panic attacks and develops a concern about having additional attacks. People with panic disorder may develop agoraphobia.

Paranoia - is a state in which a person suffers unfounded feelings of persecution

and believes others are trying to do them harm.

Parent Advocate — is an individual who has been trained to help other families get the kinds of services and supports they need and want.  Parent advocates are usually family members who have raised a child with a behavioral or emotional problem and have worked with the system of care and many of the agencies and providers in your community.

Partnership - is working closely with others to achieve agreed common goals.

Patient – refers to a person receiving services in a medical or hospital setting, including inpatient mental health facilities.  See also consumer.

Peer – is a term often used by service providers for an individual who receives mental health services; see also consumer.

Personality disorders – are a class of mental disorders characterized by an enduring pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving which is significantly different from the person’s culture and results in negative consequences.

Pharmacist – is a person licensed to sell or dispense prescription drugs.

Phobias – are a group of anxiety disorders characterized by intense, irrational fears, either of particular things or situations, such as snakes, heights, confined spaces, water, or flying (specific phobias) or of being embarrassed or humiliated in a social setting (social phobia).

Physician assistant – is a person certified to perform certain duties of a medical doctor, such as prescribing medication, performing a physical examination, or ordering diagnostic tests.

Plan of care – is a treatment plan especially designed for each consumer or child and family, based on individual strengths and needs; it establishes goals and suggests appropriate treatment and services.

Policy - is a plan of action or an agreed position adopted by an organization.

Positive symptoms –are behaviors that add to what is considered “normal,” such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and agitation; the term is usually used in reference to schizophrenia.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - can occur after one is exposed to a traumatic event, such as war, natural disasters, major accidents, or severe abuse.  The person may then develop an intense fear of related situations, heightened general anxiety, flashbacks and/or recurring nightmares.

Prevention – is a strategy or approach that delays or reduces the likelihood of onset of a mental health problem.

Primary care services - is the local network of primary health care and/or local social services centered around a health center.

Primary mental health care clinician – is the health care provider whom an individual sees the most for his/her mental health care; this may be a doctor, physician assistant, psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, therapist, case manager, or social worker.

Private sector – refers to profit-making agencies; compare to public sector and voluntary sector.

Protective factors – are factors that make it less likely that individuals will develop a disorder; these may include biological, psychological or social factors in the individual, family or environment.

Provider - is any organization, agency, group of people or individual who supplies a service in the community, home or hospital in return for payment.

Psychiatric disorder – see mental disorder.

Psychiatric resident – is a licensed medical doctor who is being trained in a psychiatric specialty at a hospital.

Psychiatrist – is a licensed physician who has completed special advanced training in diagnosing and treating mental disorders following graduation from medical school.

Psychiatry – is the medical science that deals with the origin, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders.

Psychoeducation – is education offered to those with psychiatric disabilities and often their families with the intent of helping them to better understand and cope with their psychiatric disability.

Psychologist – is a non-medical professional who has completed graduate education and training and is qualified to perform psychological research, testing, or therapy.

Psychology – is the science concerned with the individual behavior of humans, including mental and physiological processes related to behavior.

Psychosis – is a group of symptoms in major mental health challenges that include loss of contact with reality, breakdown of normal social functioning, and extreme personality changes.  Psychotic episodes may be short-lived or chronic and worsening.  People affected may experience hallucinations and/or delusions.

Psychotherapy – is a form of treatment for mental disorders based primarily on verbal communication between the patient and a mental health professional, often combined with prescribed medication; see also counseling.

Psychotic disorders – are a class of disorders characterized by psychosis, delusions or hallucinations; includes schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Public sector – refers to any facility maintained or controlled by a central government, local government, or other statutory body; compare to private sector and voluntary sector.

Rapport – means a friendly relationship with a basis of trust.

Rate – is the number per unit of the population with a particular characteristic, for a given unit of time.

Recovery – according to RCW 71.24, “"Recovery" means the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities.”

Rehabilitation - restores skills (e.g., vocational, social, or daily living skills) through treatment or by training.

Rehabilitation specialist – see case manager

Regressive behavior – describes thoughts or actions that are typical of earlier life stages, such as infancy or childhood.

Residential care home - provides accommodation with board and personal care, which is registered and inspected by the local authority.

Residential supervisor – is a person in charge of a group home or a unit within a residential treatment facility who helps with the problems of daily living, checks to be sure that residents take their medications, and knows how to handle crises when they occur.

Residential treatment centers – are facilities that provide treatment and supervision 24 hours a day to groups of consumers or children with serious emotional disturbances.  Treatment may include individual, group, and/or family therapy as well as behavior therapy, special education, recreation therapy, and medical services; also called therapeutic group homes.

Resilience – refers to the capacities within a person that promote positive outcomes, such as mental health and well-being, and provide protection from factors that might otherwise place that person at risk for adverse health outcomes.

Respite care – is a temporary break for the caregiver of a child, an older adult, or someone who is ill or disabled.  This can be a formal service where a trained caregiver takes care of the person for a while, or informal help provided by a friend or relative.

Review - means a critical look at what exists.

Revise - means to change what exists.

Revised Codes of Washington (RCW’s) – are laws that the state government creates; see also Washington Administrative Codes (WAC’s).

Risk assessment - is an assessment of whether a person is at risk to themselves or


Risk factors – are certain factors that make it more likely that individuals will develop a mental disorder.  Risk factors may include biological, psychological or

social factors in the individual, family and environment, and are especially significant for children.

Schizoaffective disorder - is a mental health challenges in which symptoms of both schizophrenia and a manic, depressed, or mixed episode occur at the same time.

Schizophrenia – is a complex and severe mental disorder, which results in abnormal thinking and behavior, including hallucinations (especially hearing voices), delusions, paranoia, social withdrawal, distorted thought processes, and inappropriate or “blunted” emotional expression.

Screening – refers to the administration of an assessment tool to identify persons in need of more in-depth evaluation or treatment; see also eligibility criteria, intake.

Screening tools – are those instruments and techniques (questionnaires, check lists, self-assessments forms) used to evaluate individuals for increased risk of certain health problems; see also eligibility criteria, intake.

Seclusion - is the supervised confinement of a patient alone in a room, which may be locked.

Self-harm – refers to the various methods by which individuals injure themselves, with or without suicidal intent, such as self-laceration, self-battering, taking overdoses or exhibiting deliberate recklessness; also called self-injury.

Self-help groups - see mutual support groups

Self-injury – see self-harm

Self-management - is where a patient manages their own illness and treatment, including recognizing the need to seek help if there are indications of relapse.

Serious – in reference to mental health, means something is important and demands consideration.

Serious emotional disturbances – are diagnosable disorders in children and adolescents that severely disrupt their daily functioning in the home, school, or community.  These disorders include depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, and eating disorders.

Service – is a type of support or clinical intervention designed to address the specific mental health needs of a consumer or a child and his or her family.  A service could be provided only one time or repeated over a course of time.

Service coordinator – see case manager

Service plan — is a written document that lists and describes all the services and supports a consumer or child and family will receive. Typically, service plans also include information about the consumer’s strengths, problems, and needs; describe what the services and supports are designed to accomplish; and explain how and when progress will be assessed. Also called individual service plan or treatment plan.

Service provider - see provider

Severe – in reference to mental health, means something that is violent, extreme and making great demands upon an individual, family, or service provider.

Sheltered work - is work provided for people with a mental health challenges or developmental disability in protected or well-monitored settings, outside the usual workforce; compare to supported employment.

Side effects - are the unwanted physical effects of taking medication.

Sleep disorders – involve abnormalities in the amount, timing or quality of sleep (dysomnias) or unusual behavioral or physiological events related to sleep (parasomnias).

Social services – are organized efforts to advance human welfare, such as home-delivered meal programs, support groups, and community recreation projects.

Social support – refers to assistance that may include companionship, emotional backing, cognitive guidance, material aid and special services.

Social worker – is a graduate of a school of social work who holds either a bachelor’s or master’s degree and who is trained in effective ways of helping the people living with mental health challenges, and other groups in need of assistance.  See also case manager.

Solvent abuse - is where people get "high" through breathing in fumes from butane, aerosols, glues or other products; see also substance abuse and substance dependence.

Somatoform disorders – are mental disorders where the symptoms suggest a medical condition, but where no medical condition can be found by a physician; also called psychosomatic illnesses.

Spiritual - relates to the spirit or soul as distinct from physical matters; it includes religion but goes much wider to embrace, for example, art and music.

Split personality – is a slang term often inaccurately associated with schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) sometimes mistakenly referred to as multiple personality disorder.

Stakeholder – is anyone, including organizations, groups and individuals, that is affected by and contributes to decisions, consultations and policies.

Statutory - relates to organizations set up by law, statute or regulation (e.g. county council, local authority).

Stigma – is a general term for the widespread fear and misunderstanding of mental health challenges, together with the stereotyping and negative attitudes toward those who suffer from them.

Street drugs – means drugs that are not prescribed by doctors for the person using them; also called illicit drugs.

Strengths -_ are the positive characteristics of any individual, child or family, including things they do well, people they like and activities they enjoy.

Subpoena – is a written legal order.

Substance abuse - is the use of a substance (e.g., alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, solvents, etc.) to the point that it has a negative impact on one’s life (e.g., leads to fights, arrests, relationship problems, etc.); compare to substance dependence.

Substance dependence – is addiction to a substance (see above); i.e., the substance is taken more frequently, in higher doses, in inappropriate situations, or in spite of the user’s desire to quit; compare to substance abuse.

Suicidal act – is a potentially self-injurious behavior for which there is evidence that the person probably intended to kill himself or herself; a suicidal act may result in death, injuries, or no injuries; also called a suicide attempt.

Suicidal behavior – refers to a spectrum of thoughts and behaviors that include suicidal thinking, suicide attempts, and completed suicide; also called suicidality.

Suicidal ideation – means self-reported thoughts of engaging in suicide-related behavior.

Suicide – means the act of intentionally killing oneself.

Suicide survivors – are family members, significant others, or acquaintances who have experienced the loss of a loved one due to suicide; sometimes this term is also used to mean suicide attempt survivors.

Support - means to help provide for and encourage a person.

Supported employment - is where a person is supported (usually by an organization or program) to obtain and retain open employment in the community; compare to sheltered work.

Supported housing - is where residents have their own accommodation, but a member of staff is available to provide support when necessary.

Symptom – is a reported feeling or specific observable physical sign of a consumer’s condition that indicates a physical or mental abnormality.

System of care — is a coordinated network of agencies and providers that make a full range of mental health and other necessary services available to consumers/Peers or children with mental health challenges and their families.

Tardive dyskinesia – is a neurological syndrome caused by the long-term use of psychoactive drugs.  It is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements such as grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, rapid eye blinking, rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk, and involuntary movements of the fingers.

Telecommuting – means participating in work activity from home using a computer linked to the workplace through the Internet.

Treatment - means a medical or psychological therapeutic intervention.

Treatment plan – see service plan

Treatment team- is a group of professionals, service providers, family members and/or support people who meet to develop, implement and review a comprehensive service plan for an adult consumer or child and family.

Unintentional – means an injury that is unplanned; also called accidental injuries.

Utilization management guidelines – are policies and procedures that are designed to ensure efficient and effective delivery (utilization) of services in an organization.

Voluntary organization - is an organization that is governed by and usually operated by unpaid members and is registered as a charity.

Voluntary sector - refers to the activities of voluntary organizations; compare to private sector and public sector.

Volunteers - are unpaid helpers, who may have their expenses reimbursed; generally they need to agree to conform to the practices of the organization they are helping.

Washington Administrative Codes (WACs) - set out guidance for practitioners on the operation of legislation.  These rules are derived from the Revised Codes of

Washington (RCWs), the laws that the state legislature has created.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) – refers training on and use of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan developed by Mary Ellen Copeland.  

Wraparound Services – are individualized community-based services that focus on the strengths and needs of a child and family. Wraparound services are developed through a team-planning process, where a team of individuals who are relevant to the well-being of the child (such as family members, service providers, teachers, and representatives from any involved agency) collaboratively develop and implement an individualized plan of care, known  as a wraparound plan.

Youth – an individual who is between 12 and 18 years old. This definition varies in different parts of the state, nation and by organization.  

Youth Culture – The norms, values, language and music that defines who a young person is.

Youth In Transition – A young person between the ages of 16 and 24 generally. This term is applied to youth who are aging out of the youth systems and moving into adult systems which includes education to higher education and does not necessarily mean that a young person who is in the mental health system will automatically move into the adult mental health system.