Affective Disorder
Another term for mood disorder.
Inability to derive pleasure from previously or usually pleasurable activities including eating, sex, hobbies, sports, social events, and family functions. Anhedonia can manifest itself across a range of mental health disorders including depression.

A mental state and intense emotional response characterized by a feeling of preoccupation and fear, more or less intense and enduring. It can be connected to a specific stimulus that can be either internal or external. See 'Anxiety Disorders' for link to mental illness.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A group of behavioral symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability. People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders. Most cases are diagnosed in children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Behavioral Health

The scientific study of the emotions, behaviors and biology relating to a person's mental well-being, their ability to function in everyday life and their concept of self. 'Behavioral health' is the preferred term to 'mental health.'

Bipolar Disorder

A severe mood disorders. Sufferers have pathological mood swings from depression ' where one feels very low and lethargic ' to mania ' where one feels very high and overactive. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes two types of bipolar disorder, type I and type II. In type I (formerly known as manic depressive disorder), there has been at least one full manic episode. However, people with this type may also experience episodes of major depression. In type II disorder, periods of 'hypomania' involve more attenuate (less severe) manic symptoms that alternate with at least one major depressive episode.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
A psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imaginary defects in their appearance.
Conscious mental activities (such as thinking, communicating, understanding, solving problems, processing information and remembering) that are associated with gaining knowledge and understanding.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies. This approach helps people change negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors so they can manage symptoms and enjoy more productive, less stressful lives. Also see: Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

A specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. It is found to be effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Community Psychiatric Nurse

A registered nurse who works in the community as part of a team, seeing patients with mental health needs in various settings'e.g., in a GP surgery, clinic, health center or client's own home. CPNs work closely with GPs and other health professionals, providing practical advice and ongoing support with problems, supervising medications, giving injections, helping with counseling, and working out care plans with other members of the team, service users and careers.


The simultaneous appearance of two or more illnesses, such as the co-occurrence of alcohol dependence and depression. The association may or may not reflect a causal relationship between one disorder and another or an underlying vulnerability to both disorders.

Compassion Fatigue

Also called 'vicarious traumatization' or secondary traumatization (Figley, 1995). The emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events. It differs from burn-out but can co-exist. Compassion Fatigue can occur due to exposure on one case or can be due to a 'cumulative' level of trauma.


A masters-level health care professional who is trained to evaluate a person's mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. They operate under a variety of job titles'including counselor, clinician, therapist or something else based on the treatment setting.

Crisis Counseling
An intervention that can help individuals deal with the crisis by offering assistance and support.
Crisis Hotline

A phone number people can call to get immediate emergency telephone counseling, usually by trained volunteers.


A psycho-physical state characterized by deep sadness, low self-esteem, reduction of interest and pleasure in the activities that normally interest the individual, lack of energy and reduced ability to concentrate. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by suicidal thoughts.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

This is a type of therapy used to successfully treat borderline-personality disorders. It aims to reduce dysfunctional behaviors, increase emotional regulation skills, tolerate distress and increase motivation both in the client and the therapist. In order to do this, this approach focuses on acceptance, on behaviors that interfere with the therapy, on the therapeutic relationship and on dialectical processes.

Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are characterized by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behavior. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health. Eating disorders do not necessarily result in weight loss, a common misconception.

Effective Listening
The ability to actively understand information provided by the speaker, and display interest in the topic discussed. It can also include providing the speaker with feedback, such as the asking of pertinent questions; so, the speaker knows the message is being understood.
Evidenced Based Medicine

Treatments that are supported by clinical research.

General Practitioner (GP)
A medical doctor who is trained to provide primary healthcare to patients of either sex and any age.

An emotional reaction to change. Grief is a natural process which is most associated with a loss.

Phenomenon that makes people perceive sounds, images and smells (that are only products of their mind) as real. The person may or may not have insight into the fact that he or she is having a hallucination.
Inpatient Behavioral Health Professionals

A mental health professional, health care practitioner or community services provider who offers services to improve an individual's mental health or to treat mental disorders. Inpatient refers to admission into a facility dedicated solely for mental health care or a hospital (usually with a distinct mental health section) for the treatment of mental illness.


Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.

Integrated Care

The systematic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare. Integrating mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and proves the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple healthcare needs.

An action intended to help treat or cure a condition.
Major Depressive Disorder

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a treatable but serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person's ability to function at work and at home.

A state characterized by excessive excitement, exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur, elevation of mood, psychomotor over-activity and over-production of ideas.
Manic Depression

Alternating moods of abnormal highs (mania) and lows (depression). Called bipolar disorder because of the swings between these opposing poles in mood. A type of depressive disease. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders.

Mental Health

Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.


According to Jon Kabat-Zinn's definition, mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment, intention-ally and in a non-judgmental fashion (1994).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Sufferers of OCD become trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are senseless and distressing but extremely difficult to overcome. Compulsions are actions or responses to such obsessive thoughts. The most common of these are washing and checking on things. People with OCD show a range of insight into the senselessness of their obsessions and sometimes also suffer from depression, eating disorders, substance abuse disorder, a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, or another of the anxiety disorders.

Opioid / Opioid Treatment

A class of drugs that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief. Opioid Treatment - 'a program or practitioner engaged in opioid treatment of individuals with an opioid agonist medication.'

Oppositional Defiant Disorder
A childhood disorder that is defined by a pattern of hostile, disobedient, and defiant behaviors directed at adults or other authority figures. ODD is also characterized by children displaying angry and irritable moods, as well as argumentative and vindictive behaviors.
Outpatient Behavioral Health Professionals

A mental health professional, health care practitioner or community services provider who offers services to improve an individual's mental health or to treat mental disorders. Outpatient care, sometimes called ambulatory care, is defined as medical care or treatment that does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or medical facility.

Panic Attacks

Short, intense and sudden anxiety episode, characterized by anguish, intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom. During these attacks there are symptoms such as short-ness of breath or smothering sensations; palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; chest pain or discomfort; choking; and fear of going crazy or losing control.

Panic Disorder

A type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger.

Paranoia and Paranoid Disorders
A condition characterized by the gradual development of an intricate, complex, and elaborate system of thinking based on (and often proceeding logically from) misinterpretation of an actual event.

The state or condition of being equal, especially as regards status or pay, (of a number) the fact of being even or odd.


An irrational, intense and persistent fear and repulsion towards certain situations, objects, activity or people. In severe cases it can limit people's autonomy. Common phobias involve bugs and insects, crowds, flying or heights.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A severe anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events (e.g., rapes, life-threatening events, severe injuries, and natural disasters). Someone with PTSD often re-experiences the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.

Prolonged Exposure

A specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations.

Licensed medical doctors who have completed psychiatric training. They can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications and provide therapy.
A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

Indicates any treatment of mental disorders that aims at changing thoughts, behaviours or emotions.

Schizoaffective Disorder
A mental condition that causes both a loss of contact with reality (psychosis) and mood problems (depression or mania).

A serious brain disorder. It is a disease that makes it difficult for a person to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses to others, and to behave normally in social situations. It is thus associated with hallucinations and delusions.

Secondary Care
Medical care that is provided by a specialist or facility upon referral by a primary care physician and that requires more specialized knowledge, skill, or equipment than the primary care physician can provide.
Social Workers
Social workers (B.A. or B.S.) provide case management, inpatient discharge planning services, placement services and other services to support healthy living.
Substance Use Disorder

A disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.

Suicidal Ideation

Thinking about or planning suicide. Thoughts can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration. It does not include the final act of suicide.


A collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies. Telehealth encompasses a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services.

Traumatic Event

An incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm.

Treatment Resistant Depression

Inadequate response to at least one antidepressant trial of adequate doses and duration. TRD is a relatively common occurrence in clinical practice, with up to 50% to 60% of the patients not achieving adequate response following antidepressant treatment.