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Glossary

So many terms are used in discussions of our health care system, behavioral health and mental illness. Here, we help sort out what the terms actually mean.

Behavioral health disorders

Clinical social workers

Crisis intervention teams

Crisis intervention training

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders

First-episode psychosis/first psychotic break

Mental breakdown/nervous breakdown

Mental health conditions (most common)

Mental health first aid

Psychiatrists

Psychologists

Psychotic break


Behavioral health disorders

These often co-exist with mental illness. But there are differences between the two: behavioral disorders include substance abuse, sexual addictions, gambling and other bad habits. Behavioral disorders sometimes are treated in conjunction with psychiatric medicine or psychological counseling.

 Clinical social workers

These medical professionals have master’s degrees and often are licensed to treat mental, emotional and such behavioral disorders as substance use.

Crisis intervention teams

Comprised of specially trained police officers, social workers or other mental health counselors, emergency department and other hospital personnel, these teams intervene to lessen the chances that a person with mental illness 1) experiences a worsening  health crisis after law enforcement have been summoned 2) harms themselves or others during potentially volatile situations 3) is subjected to police use of physical force or 4) is arrested and incarcerated.

Crisis intervention training

Equips police officers with skills required to identify when a person is suffering a mental crisis; to de-escalate tensions during encounters involving persons with mental illness; and to route such persons into mental health care services, rather than a jail cell, especially when no violent crime has been committed.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5)

First published in 1952 by the American Psychiatric Association, this is a compilation of mental disorders, their symptoms and treatment. (The fact that the list has grown substantially makes it a target for critics in psychiatry who say too much of normal human behavior is being labeled a malady.)

First-episode psychosis/first psychotic break

This normally happens during the teens and 20s, according to this National Institute of Mental Health fact sheet. There are host of causes for psychoses, and those causes vary from person to person. Some breaks are rooted in personal genetics, trauma, substance abuse/use, physical illness, injury or myriad mental health conditions.

Early warning signs of a break can include sleeplessness; hallucinations; delusions; seeing shadows and/or light flashing; hearing voices; smelling or tasting things that others don’t; being suspicious of others; isolation; decline in personal appearance and hygiene; abrupt decline in school or work performance, etc.

Mental breakdown/nervous breakdown

This happens when anxiety, depression and other often stress-related mental conditions prevent a person from doing their normal, everyday things.

Mental health conditions (most common)

The National Institutes of Health lists the following  as some of the  most common mental health conditions

  • Anxiety

  • Autism

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Depression

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Panic disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Schizophrenia

Mental Health First Aid

Law enforcement officials, firefighters and other first-responders, school counselors, clinicians,  community organizers ... your average Jasmine or Joe can undergo this training. Its myriad aims range from de-mystifying and de-mythologizing mental illness to training everyday citizens to understand mental illness and help boost the overall mental wellness of their friends, kin and neighbors.

Psychiatrists

Medical doctors who treat mental conditions, including via psychotherapy and/or by prescribing anti-psychotic or other medications.

Psychologists

These medical professionals hold doctorates in philosophy, provide mental health assessments and therapy, and often conduct clinical research.

Psychotic break

There are host of causes for psychoses, and those causes vary from person to person. Some breaks are rooted in personal genetics, trauma, substance abuse/use, physical illness, injury or myriad mental health conditions.

Early warning signs of a break can include sleeplessness; hallucinations; delusions; seeing shadows and/or light flashing; hearing voices; smelling or tasting things that others don’t; being suspicious of others; isolation; decline in personal appearance and hygiene; abrupt decline in school or work performance, etc. First-episode psychosis/first psychotic break normally happens in teens and 20s, according to this National Institute of Mental Health fact sheet.