Jargon buster

A guide to some of the terms used within the NHS

Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC)

An organisation which provides health care to patients and which undertakes research. An AHSC usually provides teaching and education as well.

Accident and Emergency (A&E)

The part of a hospital for anyone who has a serious injury or who needs emergency treatment. In some hospitals, this is known as the Emergency Department (ED) or casuality.

Acute care

Short term treatment for diseases or illnesses that start quickly and have painful or distressing symptoms. The term 'acute' is also used to refer to services which provide care and treatment for physical health problems.

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.

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which describes the loss of mental abilities, such as memory and reasoning.

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.

Antipsychotic

Medications that are usually used to treat psychosis. Sometimes they are used to treat other conditions.

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMPH)

Someone who has had specific training in the legal aspects of mental health assessment and treatment. AMPHs are approved by their local authority social services department to organise and carry out assessments under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

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. This can help you to understand difficult feelings, and to change patterns of how you relate them to yourself, and to others. Music therapists, drama therapists and dance and movement therapists work in a similar way using other forms of expression.

Associate Hospital Managers

A group of people appointed by the Board of Directors to carry out responsibilities, as directed by the Hospital Managers, under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).  This group of people hear appeals and review patients on a section of the MHA.

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.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a behaviourally defined syndrome characterised by communication impairments, social interaction problems and unusual interest patterns and/or stereotyped behaviour. It occurs in approximately 1% of children and often gives rise to serious lifelong disabilities that cause considerable suffering and distress to individuals and their families.

Basic research

Basic research aims to improve general scientific knowledge and understanding. Research is usually in laboratories (for example, studying genes that may contribute to a disorder). Basic research can highlight new and useful avenues to explore for developing new treatments.

Bioinformatician

A person who works on information technology as applied to the life sciences, especially technology used for the collection, storage, retrieval and analysis of complex biological data.

Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics uses a range of techniques including mathematics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry and biochemistry to solve biological problems.

Biomarker

A test that enables doctors to determine whether someone has a condition such as Alzheimer's in order to provide the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible. It is usually based on biological indicator (such as a specific protein or a brain scan) which changes as a consequence of a process, event or condition (e.g. ageing or disease). Biomarkers can be used to detect and chart the progression of an illness or its response to treatment. They are detected and measured using a variety of methods that may include physical examination, biochemical laboratory tests or medical imaging.

Biomedical

Relating to biomedicine, the branch of medical science that applies biological principles to clinical practice.

Biomedical Research Centres (BRC)

Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) have been established as part of the UK Government's NHS research strategy. The aim of these Centres is to find new ways of using research to prevent, diagnose and treat illness.  BRCs were created by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The only specialist mental health BRC in the country is managed by SLaM and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

Brain imaging

The process of taking pictures of the living brain.  This is done non-invasively, meaning that there is no need for procedures that involve entering the body.

Caldicott Guardian

The senior healthcare professional in each NHS organisation who is responsible for safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information. The name comes from the Caldicott Report, which identified 16 recommendations for the use and storage of patient- identifiable information.

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.

CAMHS Tier 1

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by people who are not mental health specialists. This includes GPs, health visitors, school nurses, teachers, social workers, youth justice workers and voluntary agencies. Services at this level include general advice and treatment for less severe problems.

CAMHS Tier 2

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by a specialist, such as a psychologist or counsellor, in a GP practice, paediatric clinic, school or youth service. Many staff providing services at this level are employed by a local authority or Primary Care Trust.

CAMHS Tier 3

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by a team of specialists in a community mental health clinic or a hospital outpatients clinic. This level of service is for children and young people with severe and complex problems which they have had for some time.

Team members are likely to include child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, child psychotherapists, occupational therapists, art, music and drama therapists.

CAMHS Tier 4

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for children and young people with the most serious problems. Services at this level may be provided in hospital.

Care Co-ordinator

The person who is responsible for making sure that your care is properly planned and you get the help you need. They will usually work with a community mental health team and will be the person you see most often. They will usually be a Community Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker or Occupational Therapist.

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 meeting every three to six months 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.

Carer

A person who looks after someone else without being paid to do so. This can involve helping out with practical things including managing money, and being someone to talk with, and someone who is there to listen to you.

Case Register Interactive Search (CRIS)

A tool which has been developed for use within our Biomedical Research Centre which provides authorised researchers with secure, anonyms access to the information held on SLaM's electronic patient records system.

Clinical Academic Group (CAG)

An operational unit which brings together all the clinical services, research and teaching which takes place within a particular area (such as psychosis or addictions).

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.

Clinical Neuroscience

This involves research and treatment of brain diseases (such as epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis) and diseases of other parts of the central nervous system.

Clinical trial

A research study to answer specific questions about new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.

Clinician

A term which is used to describe someone who provides care and treatment to patients, such as a nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

A 'talking treatment' which helps you to see how early relationships and experiences have affected how you see yourself, other people and how you behave. It usually takes about 16 weekly sessions and focuses on a problem that is important for you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A talking treatment which can help you to overcome upsetting and unhelpful ways of thinking and behaviour. It helps you to be clearer about these patterns and then helps you to work out your own ways of changing them. It usually involves doing some work between sessions when you "try out" different ways of thinking or behaving.

Cognitive therapy

Psychological therapy in which cognition (thinking) is seen as the most significant factor in psychological problems and their treatment.

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.

Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

A team of people from different health and social care professions who work in your community to help you to recover from, and cope with, a mental health problem.

Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)

A nurse who has been trained to help people with mental health problems and who works in the community, instead of in a hospital.

Conditional discharge

These are the conditions which relate to the discharge of a patient who has been treated in hospital under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will). If you do not comply with these conditions then you could be brought back into hospital.

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.

Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities.

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.

Dual diagnosis

Dual diagnosis refers to a person who has been diagnosed with both a mental health condition and a substance misuse problem.

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.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

A simple and painless test that involves recording brain activity by attaching electrical wires (called electrodes) to the head. This brain wave information can be used to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy.

Emergency Department (ED)

The part of a hospital for anyone who has a serious injury or who needs emergency treatment. In some hospitals, this is known as the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department or casuality.

Epidemiology

Dealing with the incidence, distribution and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.

Family/Systemic Therapy

Difficulties in relationships with your family, partners and friends can be bad for your mental health. If this is the case, a family or couple can be seen together. The therapy helps people to see both their strengths and limitations and to try different ways of getting on together. Family therapy can be helpful if the mental illness of a family member affects the rest of the family.

Formal patient

A person who is legally kept in hospital under a section of The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (often called "a section").

General Practitioner (GP)

Your local doctor - or family doctor - who will usually be the first person you see if you have a physical illness or emotional problem. They can help you directly but can also refer you on for specialist care or assessment. Many GPs have a community psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist or counsellor who works at the GP surgery.

Genetics

All cells contain substances (including DNA, chromosomes, and genes) that shape a person's identity and can be passed on to other cells. Genes influence certain characteristics, such as height, eye colour or the likelihood of having certain health problems. The study of this is called genetics.

Genome

The genome is all of an organism's hereditary information. This includes DNA, chromosomes and genes. The study of this is called genomics.

Group Psychotherapy (Group Analytic Psychotherapy)

Group Psychotherapy explores relationships as they develop among the members of a group, including the therapist. Group members are invited to participate in open conversation in which personal issues can be confidentially explored. By discussing relationships within the group, past experiences which influence and affect current emotional experiences can be better understood.

Group Therapy

Any form of psychotherapy can be done in a group. Some groups are very brief, focused and educational (such as parent training groups), while others are unstructured and may last for several years (such as group analytic therapy). All groups make use of the input from other group members as well as the group leader to help people understand and change their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Health Care Assistants

A member of hospital staff who helps qualified nursing staff to care for patients on the ward.

Health of the Nation Outcome Score (HoNOS)

A way of measuring how well someone is doing in their treatment and recovery.

Home treatment

Home treatment (sometimes called Crisis Resolution) is a way of helping people at home rather than in hospital. This can help to avoid the stress, anxiety and upheaval that can happen with a hospital admission. This can include daily or twice daily visits, and help with medication and sorting out practical matters such as accommodation and shopping.

Hospital Chaplain

The Trust chaplaincy service can help you to contact an appropriate representative of your faith. There are chapels at some of our sites that can be used for private prayer or religious services.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapy

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme aims to improve access to talking therapies in the NHS by providing more local services and psychological therapists. IAPT services have now been set up across the NHS.

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 1983 (MHA).

Inpatient

Someone who stays in hospital to receive care and treatment.

Involvement Register

A register where people who use mental health services, carers and the public can become involved in various aspects of the Trust, such as attending regular committee meetings, working on an audit project or taking part in staff recruitment.

Keyworker (Also referred to as a Named Nurse or Primary Nurse)

A ward nurse who, individually or as part of a small team, is responsible for making sure you have a care plan, and who may be asked to write reports about your progress, for example if you appeal to the Mental Health Review Tribunal. If your keyworker is not available, because they work shifts, including night duty and weekends, you can get help from any of the staff on the ward.

King's Health Partners

The Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) we are part of, along with Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London.

Learning disabilities

If someone has a learning disability, it means that they may find it more difficult to learn, understand and communicate. Learning disabilities are not a "mental illness", but can be caused by many illness or problems before or during birth, or that develop during childhood or as the result of an illness.

Looked After Children (LAC)

Looked After Children are provided with somewhere to live by social services for more than 24 hours, as a result of a court order, or after agreement with their parents. Children become 'looked after' when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing, temporary or permanent, care.

Medium Secure Unit

Medium Secure Units, also known as MSUs, provide hospital care for people with complex mental health problems who may have become involved in the criminal justive system.

Mental Health Act 2007 (MHA)

The legal framework governing the treatment of people with mental illness in England and Wales.

Mental Health Tribunal

An independent organisation with responsibility for hearing appeals by patients who wish to be discharged from a section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Monitor

The independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.

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.

National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service was set up in 1948 to provide healthcare for everyone in the United Kingdom, based on need, not the ability to pay. It is made up of a wide range of health professionals, support workers and health care organisations.

Neurobiology

The specific area of biology that studies the nervous system (which includes the nerves, spinal cord and brain).

Neurodegeneration

Neurodegeneration is what happens when the cells of the brain and spinal cord deteriorate and are eventually lost. Neurodegenerative diseases include dementia and Alzheimer's, which affect a person's memories.

Neuroimaging

Neuroimaging maps and graphically depicts the structure and function of the brain. It falls into two broad categories: structural and functional imaging. Structural imaging deals with the structure of the brain and the diagnosis of large scale brain disease such as tumours or injury. Functional imaging is used to diagnose metabolic diseases on a finer scale (such as Alzheimer's disease) and for neurological and cognitive psychology research.

Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system and is at the frontier of investigation of the brain and mind. The study of the brain is becoming the key to understanding how we perceive and interact with the external world; and how human experience and biology influence each other.

NHS Trust

A legal organisation providing health and social care services within the NHS.

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.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

A service at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which can give telephone help, advice and information about the services we provide.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

A term used to describe a way of involving people who use services, and the wider public, in how NHS services are planned and provided.

Patient Journey System (PJS)

The electronic patient records system developed at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. It holds information about people who use our services and the care and treatment that they receive from the Trust.

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.

Pharmacist

Someone who has expert knowledge of the use of medicines. They work closely with doctors and nurses and advise them on the safe and effective use of drugs.  They are responsible for supplying medication and making sure it is available in the right form.

Pharmacology

The study of drugs and their uses and effects.

Phobia

A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear, for example a fear of heights or animals. Phobias are estimated to affect 1 in 40 adults a year.

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.

Postnatal depression

The birth of a baby is an emotional experience and, for many new mothers, feeling tearful and depressed is also common. However, sometimes longer periods of depression, known as postnatal depression (PND), can occur during the first few weeks and months of the baby's life. PND can have a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, but it can be treated.

Primary Care Trust (PCT)

An organisation which plans the way health services our provided for the local population. PCTs commission and fund organisations like SLaM to provide NHS services to patients. These groups will cease to exist as of 1 April 2013.

Proteomics

Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions.

Provider

An organisation which provides health and/or social care services to local people.

Psychiatrist

A medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders. He or she has overall responsibility for your care.  This includes any medication you may take, and any activities you may be involved in whilst in hospital, or in the community.

Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Therapy

A 'talking treatment' which looks at how your past relationships might be affecting how you currently feel, think and behave. It can be done individually or in a group.

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 who has done a psychology degree, then further training in helping people with emotional or psychological problems.  Psychologists can offer you therapy which involves talking about your difficulties and working together to overcome them. 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.

Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)

RCT's are a type of scientific experiment commonly used in testing healthcare services and medications. RCTs use the random allocation of different treatments to participants, to ensure that the effectiveness of the treatment is not just due to the placebo effect - where a person feels their condition has improved due to taking a pill, even though the pill contained no active drugs.

Restriction Order

Another term for Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will). A Restriction Order means the Secretary of State decides when you can leave hospital.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms including hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist) and delusions (believing in things that are untrue).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. It is characterised by recurrent episodes of depression at the same time each year.

Section 136

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

A small number of people are brought to hospital under Section 136. This is a power which a police officer can use if you were in a public place and that police officer had concerns about you.

Section 2

A Section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

This Section lasts for up to 28 days. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 2. While on a Section 2 a senior doctor known as a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment.

Section 3

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

This lasts for up to six months. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 3. While on Section 3 a senior doctor called a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment.

Section 35

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 35 it is because a court of law has decided that in considering your case it would be of benefit for you to spend time in hospital so that your mental health needs can be assessed. A Section 35 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During your time under this section the senior doctor on the ward will decide whether you have a serious mental health problem or not. In all cases you will need to go back to court.

Section 36

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 36 it is because the Crown Court which is dealing with your case believes you need treatment for a serious mental health problem. A Section 36 lasts for up to 28 days and can be extended but never for more than 12 weeks in total. During the time under Section 36 the senior doctor on the ward will provide treatment for you. In all cases you will need to go back to court.

Section 37 (without restrictions)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 37 it is because a court of law has considered your case. Rather than send you to prison the court (on the advice of two doctors) decided that you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. Section 37 usually lasts for up to six months.

Section 37/41 (with restrictions)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 37/41 it means that crown court has considered your case. Rather than send you to prison the court (on the advice of two doctors) decided that you would benefit from going to a hospital to receive treatment for a serious mental health problem. Section 37 deals with treatment of your mental health problem. Section 41 (often called a Restriction Order) means the Secretary of State decides when you can leave hospital.

Section 38

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 38 it means that a court of law has convicted you of a particular offence but has not yet passed sentence on you. The reason for the delay is because two doctors have advised the court that time in hospital is needed to treat your serious mental health problem. This section lasts for up to 28 days but can be extended but never for more than a year in total.

Section 4

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you were brought to hospital under Section 4 it means the Approved Mental Health Professional assessing you was very concerned about you and needed to act quickly. Section 4 means only one doctor saw you. Section 4 only lasts for up to 72 hours and is usually followed by Section 2 or Section 3.

Section 47

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 47 it means that you are a sentenced prisoner. On the advice of two doctors the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem.

Section 48

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you are under a Section 48 it means that you are a prisoner waiting to be sentenced. On the advice of two doctors the Secretary of State decided that you needed to spend time in hospital to have treatment for a serious mental health problem. In most cases you will return to court for final sentencing. Most people under Section 48 are also under section 49.

Section 5(2)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If you came into hospital without being on a Section you were an 'informal' or 'voluntary' patient. If you wanted to leave and this was not considered appropriate the decision was made to assess you under Section 2 or Section 3.

It takes time to carry out an assessment and sometimes a person is placed under Section 5(2) to stop them leaving. Section 5(2) is done by one doctor and only lasts up to 72 hours. It is sometimes called a holding power. During the 72 hours you were assessed for Section 2 or 3.

Section 5(4)

A section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) - the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will.

If a doctor was not available to use Section 5(2) a nurse may have stopped you leaving by placing you under Section 5(4). This section only lasts up to six hours and ends when a doctor comes to see you.

Self harm

Self harm is when somebody damages or injures their body on purpose. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) describes it as 'self-poisoning, or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act'.

Service user

Someone who uses mental health services, or who has done so in the past. Also sometimes referred to as clients or patients.

SLaM

Shorthand for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder (also know 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.

Stakeholders

People who have an interest and / or an involvement ('stake') in an organisation, its activities and its plans for the future. This can include the public, service users, carers and staff.

Support Workers

Staff employed to support qualified nurses in providing care.

Talking therapy / treatment

A general term for treatments which involve talking in individual or group sessions with a trained mental health professional.

Translational research

The process of taking the findings from basic science - such as laboratory research or sociology - and turning them into something that will be useful for patients, such as new treatments or new tests for assessing if someone has a particular condition.

Ward Doctor

The psychiatrist responsible for your daily medical care and for prescribing any medication you may need. If your consultant is away he/she may also stand in for them (see Consultant Psychiatrist).

Ward manager

The senior nurse in charge of running a hospital ward.

X-ray

An X-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. X-rays are a type of radiation. Radiation is a general term that refers to any sort of energy that can travel through space as either a wave or a particle.

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