Mental health: Words you need to know

Getting help and support can be hard enough without having to know the definitions of all the new words you encounter. Our friends at Reachout.com put together this list so that you can understand what things mean and be on your way to support faster and easier.

Services

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)/Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS – in QLD)

Free specialist mental health service in both community based and inpatient settings.

Drop-in centre/service

A place where people who know all about things like employment, legal, health and general welfare can be visited without an appointment.

Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT)

Provides immediate help during a mental health crisis via phone or in person.

GP Mental Health Treatment Plan

Provides Medicare benefits to patients for selected mental health services (GPs, psychiatrists, clinical and registered psychologists, eligible social workers, and occupational therapists) under a GP managed plan.

Headspace

A national youth mental health service, providing support for 12 – 25 year olds online and in centres around the country including counselling, information and resources, and various programs.

Helpline

Phone services that provide counselling, information and referrals.

Online forums

These are communities on the internet where members can chat to each other, usually anonymously.

Support group

A group of people with common experiences or concerns who come together to support, comfort and encourage each other.

Youth health service

A specialist service providing multi-disciplinary health care for young people (up to 25).

Youth centre

A place that puts on activities and support for young people (usually up to 25).

Case manager/case worker

These people are often social workers or other trained professionals who help you set goals and access the right supports & services including advocacy, information, and referral.

Coach

A professional who helps plan and achieve your goals.

Counsellor/School counsellor

A professional (usually with a social work or psychology degree) who uses talking and support to help you work through issues and problems.

Psychiatrist

A doctor trained in mental illness. They have a medical degree specialising in psychiatry and can prescribe medication.

Psychologist

A professional who studies and helps with behaviour and mental processes. These people have a degree in psychology, usually use talking therapies and can’t prescribe medication.

Social worker

A professional who provides support to improve your wellbeing, including addressing disadvantage. You’ll find social workers in a variety of roles like casework, counselling, and community work.

Student Support Officer

A school staff member who works in collaboration with community services to identify and intervene early with teenagers who have additional needs or are at risk of disengagement.

Welfare teacher

A regular teacher who is also responsible for the health and wellbeing of students, promoting personal and social development and fostering positive attitudes.

Youth Liaison Officer

Part of the police force, these officers are specially trained and coordinate youth crime reduction programs, coach other police to interact effectively with young people, and can help if a young person has an issue with police.

Youth worker

A professional who works with a young person to advocate and facilitate their independence and participation in society, and realise their rights.

CBT and DBT

These are approaches to talking therapies as part of mental health treatment. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a practical approach that focuses on creating change in a person’s thought patterns, feelings and behaviour.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a long-term approach that includes mindfulness (see definition below), acceptance of difficult emotions and learning new behaviours and skills

Medication

Psychiatric medications prescribed by a psychiatrist or GP which are aimed at helping a person deal with mental health difficulties.

Mindfulness

A practice where you look at or observe your thoughts rather than get caught up in them and focus on being grounded in the present rather than the past or the future.

Online forums

These are communities on the internet where members can chat to each other, usually anonymously.

Resilience

The ability to ‘bounce back’ from a difficult situation.

Self-care

An activity or activities that you do voluntarily to help you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health.

Self-talk

This is your inner voice and can be positive or negative ie. “I look great today.” or “Nobody cares about me.”

Specific mental health difficulties There are lots of diagnosable mental health difficulties other than depression and anxiety, including Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you think you or your teenager might have a mental health difficulty it’s a good idea to see a professional.

People

Case manager/case worker

These people are often social workers or other trained professionals who help you set goals and access the right supports & services including advocacy, information, and referral.

Coach

A professional who helps plan and achieve your goals.

Counsellor/School counsellor

A professional (usually with a social work or psychology degree) who uses talking and support to help you work through issues and problems.

Psychiatrist

A doctor trained in mental illness. They have a medical degree specialising in psychiatry and can prescribe medication.

Psychologist

A professional who studies and helps with behaviour and mental processes. These people have a degree in psychology, usually use talking therapies and can’t prescribe medication.

Social worker

A professional who provides support to improve your wellbeing, including addressing disadvantage. You’ll find social workers in a variety of roles like casework, counselling, and community work.

Student Support Officer

A school staff member who works in collaboration with community services to identify and intervene early with teenagers who have additional needs or are at risk of disengagement.

Welfare teacher

A regular teacher who is also responsible for the health and wellbeing of students, promoting personal and social development and fostering positive attitudes.

Youth Liaison Officer

Part of the police force, these officers are specially trained and coordinate youth crime reduction programs, coach other police to interact effectively with young people, and can help if a young person has an issue with police.

Youth worker

A professional who works with a young person to advocate and facilitate their independence and participation in society, and realise their rights.

Terms

CBT and DBT

These are approaches to talking therapies as part of mental health treatment. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a practical approach that focuses on creating change in a person’s thought patterns, feelings and behaviour. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a long-term approach that includes mindfulness (see definition below), acceptance of difficult emotions and learning new behaviours and skills

Medication

Psychiatric medications prescribed by a psychiatrist or GP which are aimed at helping a person deal with mental health difficulties.

Mindfulness

A practice where you look at or observe your thoughts rather than get caught up in them and focus on being grounded in the present rather than the past or the future.

Online forums

These are communities on the internet where members can chat to each other, usually anonymously.

Resilience

The ability to ‘bounce back’ from a difficult situation.

Self-care

An activity or activities that you do voluntarily to help you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health.

Self-talk

This is your inner voice and can be positive or negative ie. “I look great today.” or “Nobody cares about me.”

Specific mental health difficulties

There are lots of diagnosable mental health difficulties other than depression and anxiety, including Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you think you or your teenager might have a mental health difficulty it’s a good idea to see a professional.

We’ve borrowed this content from ReachOut – Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents – with their permission. You can find the original article here. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents.

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