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Jargon Buster

There are many terms and acronyms commonly used at Healthy Minds. This page gives an explanation of some of the common terms that you may have come across.

This is by no means a comprehensive list - if we have missed an acronym or term that you would like explainig, drop us a line at and we'll add it to the page.


Anxiety is the term used to describe experiences such as chronic fear, tension and panic attacks. Some people have an overwhelming feeling of dread that prevents them getting on with everyday life. Sleepless nights and recurring thoughts are common, as well as nausea, palpitations, dizziness and difficulty in breathing. Anxiety is the most common mental health problem we experience.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) 

This is a therapy to help people cope with stress and emotional difficulties by encouraging them to make the connections between how they think, feel and behave, and then make changes.  It is an active therapy which involves work in sessions and between sessions.


Counselling is a talking therapy that helps someone talk over and reflect on a difficulty that they are experiencing.  Having this space to talk can help someone work out how to respond in different ways to what is going on in their lives.

A mental health crisis is a sudden and intense period of severe mental distress where someone may be at risk to themselves or others, or be concerned that this is the case.


Depression is one of the most common mental health problems. People who are depressed can feel low in mood or weighed down.  Sometimes people can have a constant feeling of despair or thoughts of harming themselves.

Group Therapy

This is a therapeutic group where people who share a common problem meet together with trained facilitators to follow a structured programme.  People can often get a lot from sharing with others who have a similar difficulty and finding that they are not ‘the only one’ can be very helpful. 

Mental Health 
Someone’s emotional wellbeing, and their ability to manage and cope with the stress and challenges of life.

  • mild  mental health problem is when a person has a small number of symptoms that have a limited effect on their daily life.
  • moderate  mental health problem is when a person has more symptoms that can make their daily life much more difficult than usual.
  • severe  mental health problem is when a person has many symptoms that can make their daily life extremely difficult.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessions are quite common - between 1 - 3 % of the population seek treatment for obsessions. Obsessions appear like recurring thoughts or ideas, which can be frightening or distressing. Usually they are accompanied by ritual behaviour; for example, someone obsessed with cleanliness may believe their hands are contaminated and wash their hands incessantly. 


A phobia is an irrational and uncontrollable fear of an object or situation that most people can face without anxiety. A person with a phobia has feelings of intense panic when confronted with whatever it is that frightens then and will go to great lengths to avoid the causes of the distress. Examples of phobias are fear of flying, social phobia, claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) and agoraphobia (fear of leaving the security of the home). 

Postnatal Depression

More than 1 in 10 women develop post natal depression, or PND, which may occur any time in the first year after having a baby, but most commonly in the first six months. Women may experience a wide range of symptoms including feeling low and unhappy most of the time, acute anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, tiredness and a loss of enjoyment of desire to do anything. These symptoms may be made worse by feelings of guilt about not being able to cope or look after the baby.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is an illness that can occur after a life threatening experience or witnessing a life threatening event, like a serious accident, a violent personal assault or a terrorist incident. People with PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have problems sleeping and feel detached from reality.  

Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs)

A PWP is someone trained in basic CBT techniques that are helpful for people who have mild to moderate depression or anxiety.  They use a proven approach called ‘Guided Self-Help’. This can include setting realistic goals, looking at how you spend your time and how this can impact on your mood, learning new ways to solve difficult problems, and learning how to overcome and face fears. They can also help you learn ways to challenge and overcome negative thinking.


There are many organisations that offer a range of information and advice as well as treatments and therapies, in the statutory, and voluntary and sectors.   We may suggest that you approach one of these in order that you can help yourself improve the things that impact on your mental health.

Talking Therapy

A method of treating mental health problems or emotional difficulties that involves talking to a therapist or counsellor, in either individual or group sessions.