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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A form of psychotherapy where the individual is encouraged to accept negative thoughts and feelings as a normal part of daily functioning, and to commit to behaviours that are based on the individual’s own goals and values.

Acetylcholine: A chemical that is released in the brain and body to pass information between cells. It is involved in lots of different systems including: muscle movement, attention, learning, memory, heart rate, digestion and breathing.

Adverse effects: An unwanted harmful effect of tretament (e.g.medication or therapy). They are often known as ‘side effects’.

Advocate: A person who helps you express your views and wishes in health or social care services. They can help you stand up for your rights and challenge decision you disagree with.

Akathisia: A state of intense and uncomfortable mental and physical restlessness that can include the urge to keep moving, walking on the spot and difficulties staying still.

Antidepressants: A group of drugs that are mainly used to treat people with a diagnosis of depression. Some antidepressants are also used to help with anxiety and other conditions.

Antipsychotics: A group of drugs often used to treat, or manage, symptoms of psychosis – including hearing, seeing or sensing things other people don’t (hallucinations), unusual or distressing beliefs (delusions) and difficulties in thinking (known as thought disorder).

Anorexia: An eating disorder that can include a deep fear of gaining weight, body image difficulties and losing weight by restricting food and/or exercising. See NHS guide for more information.

Arrhythmia: Also known as irregular heartbeat or cardiac dysrhythmia, arryhthmia is a group of conditions where the heartbeat is irregular, too slow, or too fast.

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines act as a sedative – slowing down the body’s functions – and are sometimes used for sleeping problems and anxiety.

Bipolar Disorder: A mental health condition that can affect your moods, and which is characterised by periods of depression (feeling very low) and mania (feeling very high and overactive) or hypomania (less severe mania). See NHS guide for more information.

Borderline Personality Disorder: A diagnosis which can be given to adults when they have long-term difficulties with their sense of identity, emotions and/or relationships. It is controversial, with some people campaigning for it to be abandoned or changed to ‘Complex PTSD’. See NHS guide for more information.

Broca’s Area: Part of the brain, usually at the front part of the left hemisphere, and which has functions linked to speech production.

Buspirone: A medication that is used to treat or manage anxiety.

Carer’s Assessment: An assessment for adults who are caring for another individual which enables the council to decide whether or not they qualify for support. If you care for someone, it is a chance to discuss how your caring responsibilities impact on your daily life.

Catharsis: The process of releasing, and having relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Charismatic Christianity: A general term that refers to the movement or branch within Christianity that emphasises spiritual activity and miraculous evidence of divine presence (e.g. prophecy, healing, or visions).

Childhood adversity: Experiences that can cause serious or chronic stress during childhood, such as natural disasters, abuse, poverty and neglect.

Clozapine: An ‘atypical’ antipsychotic drug used for managing psychosis symptoms.

Cognitive Analytical Therapy: A form of talking therapy that focuses on an individual’s relationship with themselves, others, the world around them and their past experiences to understand their current experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviour.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of talking therapy that aims to target a person’s thoughts, in order to change how they behave and feel.

Compassion: A concern for the suffering or misfortunate of others and themselves. Sometimes defined as ‘a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, alongside a determination and commitment to doing something about it’.

Compassion Focused Therapy: A form of talking therapy that aims to encourages people to be compassionate to themselves, their voices and other people.

Consent: Someone ‘consents’ to treatment when they agree to have it. For consent to be valid in the NHS the person must be making the decision voluntarily and have enough information to weigh up the pros, cons and alternatives.

Coping strategy: The things people do to help them get through a difficult experience and/or manage difficult feelings.

Creative visualisation: A process where an individual is encouraged to generate a visual mental image that relates to a particular experience in order to recreate and transform the impact the experience has on their well-being.

Crisis houses and services: Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support so that you can manage and resolve your crisis in a residential setting (rather than hospital).

Crisis resolution team: A team that supports individuals who have a mental health crisis outside of hospital.

Daemons: A supernatural being that usually has bad intentions.

Deprivation: The lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity.

Diabetes: A lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

Discrimination: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Dissociation: Dissociation is a state where people can feel detached from their own body and/or the world around them. It is a common response to stress, but if it is long-lasting or causes problems in people’s lives they may be given a diagnosis of a Dissociative Disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder: A condition where people experience themselves as having, or are seen by others to have, different parts or alters that can influence their thoughts, feelings and actions to different degrees. See NHS guide for more information.

Dopamine: A chemical found naturally in the human body. It is a neurotransmitter, meaning it communicates between nerve cells. Dopamine is involved in lots of different functions of the brain.

Earworm: The experience of having a tune or piece of music stuck in your head.

Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy: A treatment that involves sending an electric current through your brain, causing a brief seizure in order to relieve symptoms of some mental health problems (e.g. life-threatening depression).

Equality law: The Equality Act is a law which protects you from discrimination. It means that discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of certain personal characteristics, such as age, is now against the law in almost all cases.

Evangelical: General term used to describe various Christian groups and movements emphasising: 1) The need for a conversion experience in which the individual becomes a Christian, 2) The need for humans to be ‘saved’ from sin by believing that Jesus died and was resurrected, 3) The importance of the Bible as the only essential source of guidance (rather than Church organisations and ministers), and 4) The need for Christians to try to convert others to Christianity.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): A type of therapy that uses eye movement and other forms of stimulation to assist in the reprocessing of traumatic experiences.

Felt presence: A feeling of the presence of a person or agency that is not heard or seen.

Formulation: A framework or explanation often used in cognitive behavioural therapy that links together, thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviour.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): A technique used to measure brain activity by looking at changes in how oxygen is used in the brain.

Ginkgo biloba: A popular supplement and herbal medicine which is derived from the Ginkgo biloba tree.

Glaucoma: A condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time.

Hallucination: A sensory experience (hearing a voice, seeing, tasting or feeling something) that occurs in the absence of any external stimulus.

Hearing Voices Group: A peer support group for people who hear voices, see visions or have other similar sensory experiences.

Hearing Voices: The experience of hearing a voice or sound that other people do not hear.

Hearing Voices Movement: A movement whose central premise is the idea that hearing voices is a meaningful human experience rather than a symptom of pathology.

Hearing Voices Network: A peer-focused national network linking Hearing Voices Groups and other similar initiatives.

Hypertriglyceridemia: A condition in which levels of fatty molecules are elevated. The most common reasons for hypertriglyceridemia developing are obesity, lack of physical activity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and familial hyperlipidemia, a genetic condition that causes high triglycerides and low levels of “good” cholesterol.

Hypnogogic: Relating to the state immediately before falling asleep. Hypnogic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place just as you are drifting off to sleep.

Hypnopompic: Relating to the state immediately before waking up from sleep. Hypnopompic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place as one is waking up.

Hypnosis: A trance-like state that is induced by another person. When hypnotised, people may be susceptible to suggestion.

Informed choice: A decision that is based on facts or information, where several options were available to the individual.

Inner speech: A term psychologists use to describe verbal thought; talking to oneself in silence.

Institutional racism: A form of racial discrimination that has become normal within the practices of an organisation or institution.

Intervoice: A charity set up to support the development of the international Hearing Voices Movement.

Intrusive thoughts: Unwanted thoughts or images that can be distressing or disturbing.

Jaundice: Caused by a buildup of bilirubin, a waste material, in the blood. An inflamed liver or obstructed bile duct can lead to jaundice, as well as other underlying conditions. Symptoms include a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine and itchiness.

Jinn: Shape-shifting spirits made of fire and air with origins in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Lipoprotein cholesterol: Complex particles composed of multiple proteins which transport all fat molecules around the body within the water outside cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on lipoproteins.

Long QT syndrome: A heart rhythm condition that can result in increased risk of irregular heartbeat. This could lead to seizures, fainting and palpitations.

Maastricht interview: A structured interview exploring the characteristics and content of voices in relation to a person’s life experiences. The interviewer and the voice-hearer use the information gathered through the interview to produce a concise account of voice-hearing experiences called “a construct.”

Marius Romme: A Dutch psychiatrist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Sandra Escher.

Mental Health Act: The Mental Health Act 1983 (and amended 2007) provides a legal framework within which health and social care staff can intervene, where necessary and when the legal criteria is met, to protect people who are deemed to be suffering from a ‘mental disorder’ in England and Wales.

Mental health crisis team: A team that attends individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent support.

Mental health liaison team: A team that provides a rapid and comprehensive assessment, support and interventions for individuals in a non mental health setting e.g. at home, work, A+E or other hospital wards.

Mindfulness: A psychological process and state that encourages an individual to be aware of their present experiences.

Musical hallucination: The experience of hearing music when none is being played.

 

National Health Service (NHS): The publicly funded national health care system in the UK. It provides free or low cost healthcare to all legal residents of the United Kingdom.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): It provides national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care.

Neurons: A cell that is part of the nervous system and transmits nerve impulses to, and from the brain.

Neurostimulation: Artificially induced activation or modulation of the nervous system.

Noradrenaline: A neurotransmitter that is released when a person is stressed, associated with increased heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological responses related to stress or anxiety.

Open Dialogue: An approach to supporting people and their families/social networks that combines a commitment to transparency and dialogue with a responsive and flexible service.

Parkinson’s disease: A long-term disorderthat mainly affects the motor system. As the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms – such as changes to thinking and speech – become more common. The symptoms usually emerge slowly. See NHS guide for more information.

Peer support: The process by which individuals with similar experiences provide knowledge, experience, social, emotional or practical support to one another.

Peer support worker: An individual who is appointed to offer support to another individual through shared experiences.

Pentecostal: Refers to a number of Christian groups, or denominations, that believe Christians should seek to be filled with the spirit of god. This is thought of as a type of baptism which is evidenced by certain abilities or experiences – like suddenly speaking in an unknown language, being able to heal others, or giving prophecies about the future.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A condition that may develop in response to experiening or witnessing a traumatic event. It can include re-experiencing parts of the trauma, feeling on-edge, numbness, avoiding reminders and a range of difficult feelings and beliefs. See NHS guide for more information.

Poverty: Poverty is when your resources are well below your minimum needs.

Predictive processing: A way of understanding the brain as a system that generates predictions about the world based on past experiences and patterns of behaviour.

Private speech: Speech spoken to the self for communication, guidance and regulation of behaviour.

Prolonged exposure: A form of therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder by re-experiencing the traumatic event through thoughts and behaviour, rather than avoiding the trauma.

Pseudo-hallucination: A now discredited concept that refers to an experience that resembles a hallucination, but the individual is aware that the experience is “not real”.

Psychiatrist: A medical practioner who assesses, diagnoses and treats mental illness.

Psychologist: Someone who studies the human mind and emotions and behaviour and how different situations have an effect on people.

Psychosis: Psychosis is the name given to a set of experiences where people see and interpret reality in a way that is different to those around them. This can include people hearing voices or seeing visions (hallucinations) and having unusual or distressing beliefs (delusions). See NHS guide for more information.

Psychotic disorder: A group of mental health conditions that involve experiences of psychosis. Examples include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. See NHS guide for more information.

Randomised controlled trial: A type of scientific experiment where people participating in the trial are randomly allocated to either the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as the control.

Reasonable adjustments: Remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.

Rebound psychosis: When psychosis symptoms return if a medication is discontinued, or reduced in dosage.

Relating Therapy: A therapy that encourages individuals to treat their voices as if they were people with who they are experiencing a difficult relationship with.

Sandra Escher: A Dutch journalist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Marius Romme.

Schizophrenia: A diagnosis used to describe a set of experiences and difficulties that can include: hearing voices/seeing visions (hallucinations), unusual beliefs (delusions), difficulties in thinking/communicating (thought disorder), a profound loss of motivation and drive (negative symptoms). See NHS guide for more information.

Section 2: Section 2 is specifically designed for people who mental health professionals consider are in need of an assessment for a mental disorder, where it is considered (due to presentation and possible risks) that the assessment should take place in a hospital setting. Section 2 provides the legal framework for this assessment to take place. Mental health professionals can therefore determine whether the person has a severe mental disorder and the possible care plan and treatment options available.

Section 3: Section 3 of the Mental Health Act is commonly known as ‘treatment order’. It allows for the detention of the service user for treatment in the hospital based on certain criteria and conditions being met. These are that the person is suffering from mental disorder and that the mental disorder is of a nature or a degree which warrants their care and treatment in hospital, and also that there is risk to their health, safety of the service user or risk to others. It also requires that the treatment cannot be given without the order being in place and that appropriate treatment must be available in the setting where it is applied.

Sedation: A state of calm or sleep produced by a sedative drug.

Sedentary lifestyle: A type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity.

Seizures: A sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness.

Self-harm: A behaviour used to harm the self in response to distressing situations – for example, cutting.

Sensory deprivation: When someone is deprived of normal sensations – such as sight and sound – for an extended period of time.

Sensory information: Information in the form of visual, sound, touch, smell or taste.

Sepsis: A life-threatening reaction to an infection.

Serotonin: A chemical found in the human body and acts as a neurotransmitter that communicates between nerve cells.

Social exclusion: Exclusion from the prevailing social system and its rights and privileges, typically as a result of poverty or the fact of belonging to a minority social group.

Stigma: An attitude or belief towards a group of people because of a particular quality or circumstance.

Student support services: Assist in providing or finding support to manage a range of issues that can impact students and their studies.

Talking therapy: An approach to therapy where an individual uses speech to talk to a professional about themselves; feeling, behaving and thinking for example.

Temporoparietal junction: An area of the brain where the temporal and parietal lobes meet.

Therapist: A mental health professional who is skilled in a specific therapy and works with individuals to support them with their well-being.

Tinnitus: The medical term for the experience of hearing a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that uses a constant low current delivered by electrodes to stimulate or modify targeted areas of the brain.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that involves changing magnetic fields to create an electrical current in a very small area of the brain. It involves a “coil” being held against the scalp for the duration of stimulation and feels a bit like someone is gently tapping on the scalp while it is applied.

Trauma: An event that causes a person to feel distressed – both during the event and after the event.

Unlawful discrimination: Occurs when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of certain characteristics. For example, race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual orientation.

Unusual beliefs: Beliefs about the world that other people do not share. Sometimes called ‘delusions’ in a clinical context.

Visions: The experience of seeing things that other people don’t.

Voice Collective: A London based project that offers support to young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual experiences and their parents or carers.

Voice Dialogue: A technique used to engage and speak with a person’s voices or ‘multiple selves’.

Voice-hearer: On a very simple level, a voice-hearer is someone who hears voices. The term ‘voice-hearer’ is also a ‘culturally meaningful and politically charged identity’ (Woods, 2013), the adoption of which signals affiliation with a wider network of people who share not just the common experience of hearing voices, but specific values and viewpoints. This might include being critical of mainstream psychiatry. Many people who self-identify as voice-hearers in this way are members of the Hearing Voices Movement and seek to empower other voice-hearers, challenge stigma and discrimination, and improve access to care and support for people who hear voices that is empowering and recovery-focused.

Voice-hearing: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not.

Wernicke’s Area: A region in the brain involved in understanding language and language development.

Withdrawal effects: Physical and psychological effects of stopping a medication or drug

Work Capability Assessment: An assessment used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide whether someone is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, or is able to work.

A-Z of terms

A

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A form of psychotherapy where the individual is encouraged to accept negative thoughts and feelings as a normal part of daily functioning, and to commit to behaviours that are based on the individual’s own goals and values.

Acetylcholine: A chemical that is released in the brain and body to pass information between cells. It is involved in lots of different systems including: muscle movement, attention, learning, memory, heart rate, digestion and breathing.

Adverse effects: An unwanted harmful effect of tretament (e.g.medication or therapy). They are often known as ‘side effects’.

Advocate: A person who helps you express your views and wishes in health or social care services. They can help you stand up for your rights and challenge decision you disagree with.

Akathisia: A state of intense and uncomfortable mental and physical restlessness that can include the urge to keep moving, walking on the spot and difficulties staying still.

Antidepressants: A group of drugs that are mainly used to treat people with a diagnosis of depression. Some antidepressants are also used to help with anxiety and other conditions.

Antipsychotics: A group of drugs often used to treat, or manage, symptoms of psychosis – including hearing, seeing or sensing things other people don’t (hallucinations), unusual or distressing beliefs (delusions) and difficulties in thinking (known as thought disorder).

Anorexia: An eating disorder that can include a deep fear of gaining weight, body image difficulties and losing weight by restricting food and/or exercising. See NHS guide for more information.

Arrhythmia: Also known as irregular heartbeat or cardiac dysrhythmia, arryhthmia is a group of conditions where the heartbeat is irregular, too slow, or too fast.

B

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines act as a sedative – slowing down the body’s functions – and are sometimes used for sleeping problems and anxiety.

Bipolar Disorder: A mental health condition that can affect your moods, and which is characterised by periods of depression (feeling very low) and mania (feeling very high and overactive) or hypomania (less severe mania). See NHS guide for more information.

Borderline Personality Disorder: A diagnosis which can be given to adults when they have long-term difficulties with their sense of identity, emotions and/or relationships. It is controversial, with some people campaigning for it to be abandoned or changed to ‘Complex PTSD’. See NHS guide for more information.

Broca’s Area: Part of the brain, usually at the front part of the left hemisphere, and which has functions linked to speech production.

Buspirone: A medication that is used to treat or manage anxiety

C

Carer’s Assessment: An assessment for adults who are caring for another individual which enables the council to decide whether or not they qualify for support. If you care for someone, it is a chance to discuss how your caring responsibilities impact on your daily life.

Carer’s Assessment: An assessment for adults who are caring for another individual which enables the council to decide whether or not they qualify for support. If you care for someone, it is a chance to discuss how your caring responsibilities impact on your daily life.

Catharsis: The process of releasing, and having relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Charismatic Christianity: A general term that refers to the movement or branch within Christianity that emphasises spiritual activity and miraculous evidence of divine presence (e.g. prophecy, healing, or visions).

Childhood adversity: Experiences that can cause serious or chronic stress during childhood, such as natural disasters, abuse, poverty and neglect.

Clozapine: An ‘atypical’ antipsychotic drug used for managing psychosis symptoms.

Cognitive Analytical Therapy: A form of talking therapy that focuses on an individual’s relationship with themselves, others, the world around them and their past experiences to understand their current experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviour.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of talking therapy that aims to target a person’s thoughts, in order to change how they behave and feel.

Compassion: A concern for the suffering or misfortunate of others and themselves. Sometimes defined as ‘a sensitivity to the suffering of self and others, alongside a determination and commitment to doing something about it’.

Compassion Focused Therapy: A form of talking therapy that aims to encourages people to be compassionate to themselves, their voices and other people.

Consent: Someone ‘consents’ to treatment when they agree to have it. For consent to be valid in the NHS the person must be making the decision voluntarily and have enough information to weigh up the pros, cons and alternatives.

Coping strategy: The things people do to help them get through a difficult experience and/or manage difficult feelings.

Creative visualisation: A process where an individual is encouraged to generate a visual mental image that relates to a particular experience in order to recreate and transform the impact the experience has on their well-being.

Crisis houses and services: Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support so that you can manage and resolve your crisis in a residential setting (rather than hospital).

Crisis resolution team: A team that supports individuals who have a mental health crisis outside of hospital.

D

Daemons: A supernatural being that usually has bad intentions.

Deprivation: The lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity.

Diabetes: A lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

Discrimination: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Dissociation: Dissociation is a state where people can feel detached from their own body and/or the world around them. It is a common response to stress, but if it is long-lasting or causes problems in people’s lives they may be given a diagnosis of a Dissociative Disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder: A condition where people experience themselves as having, or are seen by others to have, different parts or alters that can influence their thoughts, feelings and actions to different degrees. See NHS guide for more information.

Dopamine: A chemical found naturally in the human body. It is a neurotransmitter, meaning it communicates between nerve cells. Dopamine is involved in lots of different functions of the brain.

E

Earworm: The experience of having a tune or piece of music stuck in your head.

Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy: A treatment that involves sending an electric current through your brain, causing a brief seizure in order to relieve symptoms of some mental health problems (e.g. life-threatening depression).

Equality law: The Equality Act is a law which protects you from discrimination. It means that discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of certain personal characteristics, such as age, is now against the law in almost all cases.

Evangelical: General term used to describe various Christian groups and movements emphasising: 1) The need for a conversion experience in which the individual becomes a Christian, 2) The need for humans to be ‘saved’ from sin by believing that Jesus died and was resurrected, 3) The importance of the Bible as the only essential source of guidance (rather than Church organisations and ministers), and 4) The need for Christians to try to convert others to Christianity.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): A type of therapy that uses eye movement and other forms of stimulation to assist in the reprocessing of traumatic experiences.

F

Felt presence: A feeling of the presence of a person or agency that is not heard or seen.

Formulation: A framework or explanation often used in cognitive behavioural therapy that links together, thoughts, feelings, experiences and behaviour.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI): A technique used to measure brain activity by looking at changes in how oxygen is used in the brain.

G

Ginkgo biloba: A popular supplement and herbal medicine which is derived from the Ginkgo biloba tree.

Glaucoma: A condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time.

H

Hallucination: A sensory experience (hearing a voice, seeing, tasting or feeling something) that occurs in the absence of any external stimulus.

Hearing Voices Group: A peer support group for people who hear voices, see visions or have other similar sensory experiences.

Hearing Voices: The experience of hearing a voice or sound that other people do not hear.

Hearing Voices Movement: A movement whose central premise is the idea that hearing voices is a meaningful human experience rather than a symptom of pathology.

Hearing Voices Network: A peer-focused national network linking Hearing Voices Groups and other similar initiatives.

Hypertriglyceridemia: A condition in which levels of fatty molecules are elevated. The most common reasons for hypertriglyceridemia developing are obesity, lack of physical activity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and familial hyperlipidemia, a genetic condition that causes high triglycerides and low levels of “good” cholesterol.

Hypnogogic: Relating to the state immediately before falling asleep. Hypnogic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place just as you are drifting off to sleep.

Hypnopompic: Relating to the state immediately before waking up from sleep. Hypnopompic visions and voices are relatively common experiences that take place as one is waking up.

Hypnosis: A trance-like state that is induced by another person. When hypnotised, people may be susceptible to suggestion.

I

Informed choice: A decision that is based on facts or information, where several options were available to the individual.

Inner speech: A term psychologists use to describe verbal thought; talking to oneself in silence.

Institutional racism: A form of racial discrimination that has become normal within the practices of an organisation or institution.

Intervoice: A charity set up to support the development of the international Hearing Voices Movement.

Intrusive thoughts: Unwanted thoughts or images that can be distressing or disturbing.

J

Jaundice: Caused by a buildup of bilirubin, a waste material, in the blood. An inflamed liver or obstructed bile duct can lead to jaundice, as well as other underlying conditions. Symptoms include a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine and itchiness.

Jinn: Shape-shifting spirits made of fire and air with origins in pre-Islamic Arabia.

L

Lipoprotein cholesterol: Complex particles composed of multiple proteins which transport all fat molecules around the body within the water outside cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on lipoproteins.

Long QT syndrome: A heart rhythm condition that can result in increased risk of irregular heartbeat. This could lead to seizures, fainting and palpitations.

M

Maastricht interview: A structured interview exploring the characteristics and content of voices in relation to a person’s life experiences. The interviewer and the voice-hearer use the information gathered through the interview to produce a concise account of voice-hearing experiences called ‘a construct’.

Marius Romme: A Dutch psychiatrist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Sandra Escher.

Mental Health Act: The Mental Health Act 1983 (and amended 2007) provides a legal framework within which health and social care staff can intervene, where necessary and when the legal criteria is met, to protect people who are deemed to be suffering from a ‘mental disorder’ in England and Wales.

Mental health crisis team: A team that attends individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent support.

Mental health liaison team: A team that provides a rapid and comprehensive assessment, support and interventions for individuals in a non mental health setting e.g. at home, work, A+E or other hospital wards.

Mindfulness: A psychological process and state that encourages an individual to be aware of their present experiences.

Musical hallucination: The experience of hearing music when none is being played.

N

National Health Service (NHS): The publicly funded national health care system in the UK. It provides free or low cost healthcare to all legal residents of the United Kingdom.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): It provides national guidelines and advice to improve health and social care.

Neurons: A cell that is part of the nervous system and transmits nerve impulses to, and from the brain.

Neurostimulation: Artificially induced activation or modulation of the nervous system.

Noradrenaline: A neurotransmitter that is released when a person is stressed, associated with increased heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological responses related to stress or anxiety.

O

Open Dialogue: An approach to supporting people and their families/social networks that combines a commitment to transparency and dialogue with a responsive and flexible service.

P

Parkinson’s disease: A long-term disorderthat mainly affects the motor system. As the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms – such as changes to thinking and speech – become more common. The symptoms usually emerge slowly. See NHS guide for more information.

Peer support: The process by which individuals with similar experiences provide knowledge, experience, social, emotional or practical support to one another.

Peer support worker: An individual who is appointed to offer support to another individual through shared experiences.

Pentecostal: Refers to a number of Christian groups, or denominations, that believe Christians should seek to be filled with the spirit of god. This is thought of as a type of baptism which is evidenced by certain abilities or experiences – like suddenly speaking in an unknown language, being able to heal others, or giving prophecies about the future.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A condition that may develop in response to experiening or witnessing a traumatic event. It can include re-experiencing parts of the trauma, feeling on-edge, numbness, avoiding reminders and a range of difficult feelings and beliefs. See NHS guide for more information.

Poverty: Poverty is when your resources are well below your minimum needs.

Predictive processing: A way of understanding the brain as a system that generates predictions about the world based on past experiences and patterns of behaviour.

Private speech: Speech spoken to the self for communication, guidance and regulation of behaviour.

Prolonged exposure: A form of therapy designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder by re-experiencing the traumatic event through thoughts and behaviour, rather than avoiding the trauma.

Pseudo-hallucination: A now discredited concept that refers to an experience that resembles a hallucination, but the individual is aware that the experience is ‘not real’.

Psychiatrist: A medical practioner who assesses, diagnoses and treats mental illness.

Psychologist: Someone who studies the human mind and emotions and behaviour and how different situations have an effect on people.

Psychosis: Psychosis is the name given to a set of experiences where people see and interpret reality in a way that is different to those around them. This can include people hearing voices or seeing visions (hallucinations) and having unusual or distressing beliefs (delusions). See NHS guide for more information.

Psychotic disorder: A group of mental health conditions that involve experiences of psychosis. Examples include schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. See NHS guide for more information.

R

Randomised controlled trial: A type of scientific experiment where people participating in the trial are randomly allocated to either the group receiving the treatment under investigation or to a group receiving standard treatment as the control.

Reasonable adjustments: Remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.

Rebound psychosis: When psychosis symptoms return if a medication is discontinued, or reduced in dosage.

Relating Therapy: A therapy that encourages individuals to treat their voices as if they were people with who they are experiencing a difficult relationship with.

S

Sandra Escher: A journalist and child psychologist who co-founded the Hearing Voices Movement with Marius Romme.

Schizophrenia: A diagnosis used to describe a set of experiences and difficulties that can include: hearing voices/seeing visions (hallucinations), unusual beliefs (delusions), difficulties in thinking/communicating (thought disorder), a profound loss of motivation and drive (negative symptoms). See NHS guide for more information.

Section 2: Section 2 is specifically designed for people who mental health professionals consider are in need of an assessment for a mental disorder, where it is considered (due to presentation and possible risks) that the assessment should take place in a hospital setting. Section 2 provides the legal framework for this assessment to take place. Mental health professionals can therefore determine whether the person has a severe mental disorder and the possible care plan and treatment options available.

Section 3: Section 3 of the Mental Health Act is commonly known as ‘treatment order’. It allows for the detention of the service user for treatment in the hospital based on certain criteria and conditions being met. These are that the person is suffering from mental disorder and that the mental disorder is of a nature or a degree which warrants their care and treatment in hospital, and also that there is risk to their health, safety of the service user or risk to others. It also requires that the treatment cannot be given without the order being in place and that appropriate treatment must be available in the setting where it is applied.

Sedation: A state of calm or sleep produced by a sedative drug.

Sedentary lifestyle: A type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity.

Seizures: A sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings, and in levels of consciousness.

Self-harm: A behaviour used to harm the self in response to distressing situations – for example, cutting.

Sensory deprivation: When someone is deprived of normal sensations – such as sight and sound – for an extended period of time.

Sensory information: Information in the form of visual, sound, touch, smell or taste.

Sepsis: A life-threatening reaction to an infection.

Serotonin: A chemical found in the human body and acts as a neurotransmitter that communicates between nerve cells.

Social exclusion: Exclusion from the prevailing social system and its rights and privileges, typically as a result of poverty or the fact of belonging to a minority social group.

Stigma: An attitude or belief towards a group of people because of a particular quality or circumstance.

Student support services: Assist in providing or finding support to manage a range of issues that can impact students and their studies.

T

Talking therapy: An approach to therapy where an individual uses speech to talk to a professional about themselves; feeling, behaving and thinking for example.

Temporoparietal junction: An area of the brain where the temporal and parietal lobes meet.

Therapist: A mental health professional who is skilled in a specific therapy and works with individuals to support them with their well-being.

Tinnitus: The medical term for the experience of hearing a ringing or buzzing noise in the ear.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that uses a constant low current delivered by electrodes to stimulate or modify targeted areas of the brain.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A non-invasive (i.e. does not require surgery) form of neurostimulation that involves changing magnetic fields to create an electrical current in a very small area of the brain. It involves a “coil” being held against the scalp for the duration of stimulation and feels a bit like someone is gently tapping on the scalp while it is applied.

Trauma: An event that causes a person to feel distressed – both during the event and after the event.

U

Unlawful discrimination: Occurs when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of certain characteristics. For example, race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual orientation.

Unusual beliefs: Beliefs about the world that other people do not share. Sometimes called ‘delusions’ in a clinical context.

V

Visions: The experience of seeing things that other people don’t.

Voice Collective: A UK-wide London-based project that offers support to young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual experiences and their parents or carers.

Voice Dialogue: A technique used to engage and speak with a person’s voices or ‘multiple selves’.

Voice-hearer: On a very simple level, a voice-hearer is someone who hears voices. The term ‘voice-hearer’ is also a ‘culturally meaningful and politically charged identity’ (Woods, 2013), the adoption of which signals affiliation with a wider network of people who share not just the common experience of hearing voices, but specific values and viewpoints. This might include being critical of mainstream psychiatry. Many people who self-identify as voice-hearers in this way are members of the Hearing Voices Movement and seek to empower other voice-hearers, challenge stigma and discrimination, and improve access to care and support for people who hear voices that is empowering and recovery-focused.

Voice-hearing: The experience of hearing a voice that other people do not.

W

Wernicke’s Area: A region in the brain involved in understanding language and language development.

Withdrawal effects: Physical and psychological effects of stopping a medication or drug.

Work Capability Assessment: An assessment used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide whether someone is eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, or is able to work.

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