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Glossary of Terms
Access
The extent to which an individual who needs care and services is able to receive them. Access is more than having insurance or the ability to pay for services. It is also determined by the availability of services, acceptability of services, cultural appropriateness, location, hours of operation, transportation needs and cost.
Anxiety Disorder
A chronic condition characterized by an excessive and persistent sense of apprehension with physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations and feelings of stress. Anxiety disorders have biological and environmental causes.
Behavioral Therapy
As the name implies, behavioral therapy focuses on changing unwanted behaviors through rewards, reinforcements and desensitization. Behavioral therapy often involves the cooperation of others, especially family and close friends, to reinforce positive and desired behaviors.
Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that can affect how a person feels and acts. It can cause extreme swings in mood—from manic highs to depressive lows. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder one must have experienced a high period (mania or hypomania), however, most people with bipolar disorder when ill or when symptomatic experience more lows than highs. These lows are known as "bipolar depression" and symptoms can include feelings of sadness and emptiness, overall depressed mood and inability to concentrate.
Case Management
A service that helps people access and arrange for appropriate services and supports. A case manager coordinates mental health, alcohol/substance abuse, educational, health, vocational, transportation, advocacy, respite care and recreational services, and other services, as needed. The case manager makes sure that the changing needs of the child and family are met.
Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy aims to identify and correct distorted thinking patterns that can lead to feelings and behaviors than may be troubling, defeating or even self-destructing. The goal is to replace such thinking with a more balanced view that in turn, leads to more fulfilling and productive behavior.
Consumer
Any individual who does or could receive mental health care or services. Includes other more specialized terms, such as beneficiary, client, person served, participant, member, recipient or patient.
Co-Occurring Disorder
A person who has both an alcohol or drug problem and an emotional, mental or psychiatric problem.
Depression
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of sadness that persist beyond a few weeks. Two neurotransmitter-natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with one another are implicated in depression: serotonin and norepinephrine.
Dually Diagnosed
A person who has both mental retardation, or related condition, and an emotional, mental or psychiatric problem.
Group Therapy
This form of therapy involves groups of usually 4 to 12 people who have similar problems and who meet regularly with a therapist. The therapist uses the emotional interactions of the group's members to help them get relief from distress and possibly modify their behavior.
Home-Based Services
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. Examples include parental training, counseling, and working with family members to identify, find or provide other necessary help.
Intake/Screening
Services designed to briefly assess the type and degree of a client's/patient's mental health condition to determine whether services are needed and to link him/her to the most appropriate and available service. Services may include interviews, psychological testing, physical examinations, including speech/hearing and laboratory.
Medicare
Medicare is the United States government's health insurance program for senior citizens, certain younger people with specific disabilities and people with end stage renal, or kidney, disease (ESRD). Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays; Medicare Part B covers physician and outpatient services; and Medicare Part D, a prescription drug benefit program.
Medicaid
Medicaid is a health insurance assistance program that is administered by each state and funded by federal and state monies. It assists low-income and disabled persons by paying for most medical expenses.
Medical Necessity
Health insurers often specify that, in order to be covered, a treatment or drug must be medically necessary for the consumer. Anything that falls outside of the realm of medical necessity is usually not covered. Plans generally use prior authorization and utilization management to determine whether or not the term "medically necessity" is applicable.
Mental Health
How a person thinks, feels and acts when faced with life's situations. Mental Health is how people looks at themselves, their lives, and other people in their lives, evaluate challenges and problems, and explorer choices. This includes handling stress, relating to other people, and making decisions.
Mental Health Problems
Mental Health problems are real. They affect one's thoughts, body, feelings and behavior. Mental Health problems are not just a passing phase. They can be severe, seriously interfere with a person's life, and even cause a person to become disabled. Mental Health problems include depression, bi-polar disorder (manic-depressive illness), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and conduct disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness. People who have it suffer from recurrent or unwanted thoughts or rituals. The obsessions and the need to perform rituals can take over a person's life if left untreated. They feel as though they cannot control these thoughts or rituals.
Panic Disorders
People with panic disorders experience heart-pounding terror that strikes suddenly and without warning. Since they cannot predict when a panic attack will seize them, many people live in persistent worry that another one could overcome them at any moment.
Paranoia and Paranoid Disorders
Symptoms of paranoia include feels of persecution and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. The disorder is present in many mental disorders, and rarely occurring as an isolated mental illness. A person with paranoia can usually work and function in everyday life since the delusions involve only one area. However, their lives can be isolated and limited.
Plan of Care
A treatment plan especially designed for each adult, adolescent or child, based on individual strengths and needs. The client and/or caregiver develops the plan of care, with input from the family. The plan establishes goals and details appropriate treatment and services to meet the needs of the client.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic occurrence, especially life-threatening events. PTSD can interfere with a person's ability to hold a job or to develop intimate relationships with others.
Psychosocial Rehabilitation
Therapeutic activities or interventions provided individually or in groups that may include development and maintenance of daily and community-living skills, self-care, grooming, bodily care, feeding, social skills training, and development of basic communication skills.
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by "positive" and "negative" symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations and distorted thinking (apparent from a person's fragmented, disconnected and sometimes nonsensical speech). Negative symptoms include social withdrawal, extreme apathy, diminished motivation and blunted emotional expression.
State Mental Health Authority or Agency
State government agency charged with administering and funding its State's public mental health services.
Supported Employment
Supportive services that include assisting individuals in finding work; assessing individuals' skills, attitudes, behaviors and interests relevant to work; providing vocational rehabilitation and/or other training; and providing work opportunities. Includes transitional and supportive employment services.
Supportive Housing
Services to assist individuals in finding and maintaining appropriate housing arrangements.
Supportive Residential Services
Moderately staff housing arraignments for clients/patients. Includes supportive living arrangements (SLAs), intensive supportive living arrangements (ISLAs), supervised apartments, group homes and basic skills training (BST), and other supportive services as may be necessary.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Services that include job finding/development, assessment and enhancements for work-related skills, attitudes, aptitudes and behaviors as well as provision of job experience to clients/patients. Includes transitional employment.
 

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