Jargon Buster*

*What the words in this toolkit mean, and words people involved in your care might use.


– Someone who gives information to you on your rights and who can help you to get your views, wishes and feelings heard. They can talk things through with you and can speak on your behalf.

Approved Centre

– This is a hospital or unit that is registered with the Mental Health Commission to provide care and treatment to a person with a mental health problem under the Mental Health Act 2001.


– This is a process where you, your parents and your team have discussions to work out what your mental health needs are and what you need to meet them.

Best Interests

– A phrase used by professionals to describe what they think is best for you. It may be considered that your mental health problems are affecting your ability to make judgements about what is best for yourself and so those involved in your care and treatment may make some decisions based on what they think is in your best interests.

Care Plan

– this is a plan that you and your team put in place when you go into hospital that sets out what actions you and they will take to try to meet your mental health and other needs when you are on the unit. You should be involved in drawing up this plan.


– A person under the age of 18 who is not, nor has been, married.

Code of Practice

– A document that provides guidance to mental health professionals, managers and staff of mental health units on how they should fulfil their duties. They are not laws however, and staff do not have to follow them if there is a good reason not to.


– The treating of your information (medical or other) as private and not for sharing. Within your unit “not for sharing” will mean not sharing outside of those that provide care for you. You should always be told if your care team wants to share it with anyone else and why.


– Where permission is given for things relating to your care and treatment e.g. consenting to take a particular medication.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

– In 1989 the United Nations adopted this convention which sets out a range of human rights that apply to all children and young people under the age of 18. It protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care, education and legal, civil and social services. Ireland gave its agreement and commitment to adopt this convention in 1992. This does not mean that these rights are the law but they can be used to argue for young people’s rights in any meeting, review or situation relating to them.

Constitution of Ireland

- Fundamental rights in relation to personal rights, the family, education, private property and religion are enshrined in the Constitution of Ireland.

Detained child

– A child the subject of a Section 25 order under the Mental Health Act 2001. A Court has the authority through the Mental Health Act to order a child to be admitted and detained for treatment in a named approved centre for up to 21 days. It is called a section 25 order as it is the 25th section of the Act that gives the Courts this authority. The length of time you can be detained may be extended by the Court if necessary.


– Being able to do something. Here we use it to mean being able to do something yourself when before you couldn’t. It’s also about feeling confident to be able to stand up and make yourself heard by adults.


– When you are seen and assessed by a doctor and they ask you and others about your thoughts, mood and behaviour so that they can decide whether to make a recommendation that you should go into hospital, or remain in hospital.

Health Service Executive (HSE)

– The body responsible for providing public health services in Ireland.

Human Rights

– These are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to all people because they are human. Some human rights are protected under Irish laws such as the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 and the Irish Constitution. Others are protected under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Ireland has signed up to.

Key Worker

– There should be one person that is responsible for making sure that people are keeping to what was agreed in your Care Plan and who should have overall responsibility for your care and treatment. You should be able to speak to that person when you are concerned about anything.

Mental Health Act 2001

– The law that provides for mental health
care and treatment in Ireland.

Mental Health Commission

– An organisation set up under the Mental Health Act to promote high standards and good practices in mental health services and to protect the interests of people detained in hospital.

Mental Disorder

– The Mental Health Act has quite a long definition of what is meant by mental disorder, and more information is given on this later in the Toolkit, but in general it means mental illness, significant intellectual disability or severe dementia and in addition there is a concern that a person may be at risk of harming themselves or other people or the person’s health may get worse if he or she is not
admitted to hospital.


– A health professional who has trained in nursing people and is responsible for a person’s care, treatment and recovery and who works closely with other health professionals.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

– A health professional whose job it is to help a person get involved in different activities on the unit. They will look at what interests the person and what needs they might have in order to be able to do activities that make them feel better both in hospital and at home.


– A person that has trained as a medical doctor and then continued to train in the area of psychiatry (mental health conditions). A psychiatrist will normally be the person who prescribes any necessary medication for a person’s mental health problems. Senior psychiatrists are called Consultants.


– A professionally trained person usually involved in providing ‘talking treatments’ similar to counselling. Some may have ‘Dr’ before their name but it is different to a doctor who is medically trained as they don’t prescribe medication.

Self advocacy

– Speaking up for yourself and getting your views across about whatever is important to you.

Social Worker

– A person whose job it is to ensure that children get the help they need if they are at risk of harm. They can help individuals and families to get help in the community if they need it.

Speech and language therapist

– A person whose job it is to help children or adults who may have communication difficulties.


– Is about disrespect. It is about attitudes and the use of negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness. Stigma is a barrier and discourages people and their families from getting the help they need due to the fear of being discriminated against.


– Any medication, therapy, tests, nursing or care given to you with the aim of helping you feel better and to get better while in hospital.

Talking Therapies or Psychotherapy

– there are a number of different therapies available depending on what might suit you best.
Some examples of these are:

• Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a way of working that helps you see how thoughts and feelings affect what you do.

• Family Therapy – this will involve working with you and other members of your family.

• Counselling –having structured conversations with a counsellor that help you to look at things differently and consider changes you might be able to make that will help you.

Your Team

– This means the team of people that are involved in your care and treatment and can include a number of different professionals depending on your needs. It will include your psychiatrist, other doctors, nurses and a range of other people who are involved in your care and treatment.

Voluntary Patient

– A child who is receiving care and treatment
in hospital with their parent’s permission.


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