Jargon buster

A guide to some of the terms used within the NHS

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.

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