Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
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CAMHS jargon buster - what do they mean?

When professionals use , abbreviations, difficult or clinical names for things we call this jargon. This guide is here to help you understand what they mean.


Admission Beds

Beds available for people in a crisis, when care cannot be provided in their own home.


When an independent professional (advocate) supports an individual to get their views heard on issues with services that affect their life.


We are independent professionals (not a part of the trust or mental health team), who help support children and young people and/or carers through their contact with health services. We help support them to ask questions and get their messages across.

Assessment (also known as a 'choice appointment')

Initial meeting where a CAMHS professional will talk to the child or young person who is unwell, listen to their symptoms and make a decision on how to help them. The young person (and in most cases their family) should be involved in this decision. For more information on this see our what to expect page.


Common assessment framework

A process for gathering and recording information about a child, identifying their needs and how their needs can be met.


CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. They are specialist NHS services that offer assessment and treatment when children and young people have emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.

CAPA (Choice And Partnership Approach)

This approach to our services is designed to give young people as much choice as possible when engaging with our services.



A friend, relative or someone known to an individual that voluntarily looks after them when they are ill, disabled, vulnerable or frail. Carers can provided care part time or full time.

Carers Assessment

A discussion with the carer to discuss the difficulties they are experiencing and to think of a plan of action that may help them.

Care Plan

A plan that is designed with the professional and the individual (and in most cases their families or carers), when they are first offered support after their needs have been assessed. Individuals should be given a copy of their care plan and it should be reviewed regularly.


Care Programme Approach

A way of assessing the health and social care needs of people with mental health problems, and coming up with a care plan that ensures people get the full help and support they need.

CHI-ESQ (The experience of service questionnaire)

A national questionnaire given to someone who is using CAMHS services to measure their satisfaction with the service.


A building where your CAMHS appointments will take place. For more information on our clinics see our website.

Clinical Audit

A process that seeks to improve our levels of care by reviewing them against certain criteria. Changes needed are put in place and monitored to confirm improvement.



An individual who has been given authority to find and purchase local mental health services.


The process by which commissioners decide which services to purchase for the local community and which provider to purchase them from.


Keeping individuals information or things they say private and not telling others. There are rules about confidentiality and others are only told information they need to know in order to help.



The individuals permission. This could be giving consent for information you shared to be told to others or it could be giving permission to receive a service or treatment.

CYP-IAPT (Child and Young people's- Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)

An exciting initiative that involves transforming mental health services for children and young people. The programme focuses on offering effective and efficient evidence based treatments (treatments that are proven to work by research) within a joined up therapeutic relationship.



This is when you officially leave the service. This could be from an inpatient unit, community team or therapy group.


DNA (Does Not Attend)

This is  when you miss a scheduled appointment and there has been no contact before to explain the reason for non-attendance.


Emotional wellbeing

This is about having the ability to understand the value of your emotions and use them to move forward in positive directions. It is about doing everything we can to effectively manage our thoughts, feelings and actions in a way that helps us function in our day to day lives.


HPFT (Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust)

An organisation that provides specialist learning disability, mental health and social care services for adults, children and adolescents in Hertfordshire. We also provide specialist learning disability services in Norfolk and North Essex.


Informed Consent

This is when you give permission to someone and fully understand what you have given permission for and why.


Inpatient Services

The individual who Is unwell stays on a ward and receives specialist treatment there from healthcare professionals.



This is any treatment or support that is given to someone who is unwell. An intervention could be medication, a talking therapy or an hour spent with a volunteer.



Looked After Children (LAC)

Children and young people who are cared for by the local authority. They may live with foster carers, other family members of in residential care.


These acronyms could come in a variety of orders but they refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Asexual.


MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team)

A team made up of different professionals.


Something you take to make you think, feel or behave differently. Often in either a pill or liquid form. You should ask the person giving you the medication for full information on the pros and cons of taking it. For more information visit our 'Medications - know your stuff' page or MIND.

Mental Health Tribunal

An independent group that makes decisions on whether someone can be discharged from hospital. Those involved in a mental health tribunal must look to protect the public, balance the freedom of the individual and consider what is best for the patient.


National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

An organisation responsible for providing guidance on best practice and the prevention and treatment of ill health.



A service that provides a specialist multi-disciplinary approach to help children and young people aged 0-19 who have global learning disabilities and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


Is when we involve young people who use our services in making decisions about how we develop and improve our services. See our involving you page



Helps you to realise your hopes and aspirations, develop your relationships and skills so you can live a positive life, with or without on-going episodes of mental ill health.



This is when someone you know asks a service such as CAMHS to offer some support to you.



Is when you start to become unwell again after your health had previously improved.

Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS)

A questionnaire with 47 questions. It measures the frequency of symptoms of anxiety and depression, in children and young people.



This is a process where you are taken into a hospital, that offers mental health services, against your will, for the safety of yourself and those around you. There are different types of sections according to the mental health act. For more information please visit our 'What it means to be sectioned' page.


This is when we recommend other support or organisations that may help you. This can be instead of us or as well as us.

Single Point of Access (SPA)

A service you or someone you know can call to speak to professionals about their mental health concerns or those of someone close to them. They take referrals and offer advice. Once they have enough information they will make sure that the individual is linked to the best service to help them.


Discrimination and negative attitudes people may have towards those with mental health difficulties. Time to change and Rethink are national campaigns which aim to reduce stigma and get people talking about mental health.

Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

A questionnaire to help us find out how things are going from your point of view, and that of your parent's and teacher's.



Tier 1

A level of CAMHS that provides general advice and treatment from non mental-health specialists working in general services, such as GP's, School nurses, social workers and voluntary agencies.



Tier 2

A level of CAMHS that involves specialists such as mental health workers and counsellors working in community and primary care such as clinics, schools and youth services.


Tier 3

A level of CAMHS that involves a Multi-disciplinary team of mental health care professionals and in some cases non mental health care professionals that provide a specialised service for more complex cases.


Tier 4

A level of CAMHS that provides highly specialist services either in specialised outpatient teams, day units and inpatient units and teams. 



Lots of different things can make someone become unwell. These are often known as triggers because a situation, thought or feeling may trigger someone to become unwell.



Young Carers

Young people who live with a family member, who needs help from them because they have an illness or disability. If the young person becomes overwhelmed by this they can seek advice.