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Explanation of technical words and terms


Meeting and talking with someone (called a befriender) usually once a week, in addition to any psychological or drug treatment. The befriender may accompany the person with a mental health problem on shopping trips and other activities and offer practical support with any difficulties.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (also known as CBT)

A psychological treatment that is based on the idea that the way we feel is affected by our thoughts and beliefs and by how we behave. Negative thoughts can lead to negative behaviour (such as stopping doing things that used to be pleasurable), which can affect how we feel. CBT encourages people to engage in activities and to write down their thoughts and problems. It helps them to identify and counteract negative thoughts.

Healthcare professional

A professional who provides treatment and care for health problems. For the treatment of common mental health problems this may include a GP, psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health worker, occupational therapist or nurse.

Primary care

A part of the healthcare service that provides care in the local community, including GPs, nurses, psychological therapists such as primary care mental health workers, or counsellors.

Psychological treatment

A general term used to describe meeting with a therapist to talk about feelings and thoughts and how these affect a person's life and well-being.


A programme that can help a person with a mental health problem with employment or social activities if they have been ill for a long time.


A treatment that a person can do on their own or with some support from a healthcare professional, using a book or a computer programme. The aim of self-help is to understand about mental health problems and develop ways of coping with the symptoms.

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