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Glossary, Acronyms, & Terms

Acronyms & Terms

BHAB Behavioral Health Advisory Board (BHAB)

BHS Behavioral Health Services

BOS Board of Supervisors

CAO Chief Administrative Officer

Councils BHS oriented councils

CPP Community Program Planning (CPP) annual processes and plan

FYQ – Fiscal Year Quarter – San Diego County Budget and Fiscal Year periods:
FYQ1 (Jul-Sep), FYQ2 (Oct-Dec), FYQ3 (Jan-Mar), FYQ4 (Apr-Jun)

HHSA Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego County

MH Mental Health

MHSA Three-Year Plan/UpdateMHSA required plan of BHS programs and services for next 3-year period with annual updates

Q&I Evaluations Quality & Improvement Evaluations

QIWP Quality & Improvement Work Plan

OP Operating Plan & Budget (Goals, Recommended and Adopted Plan and Budget)

SUD Substance Use Disorder (SUD)


Aftercare: is a program of outpatient treatment and support services provided for individuals
discharged from an institution, such as a hospital or mental health facility, to help maintain
improvement, prevent relapse, and aid adjustment of the individual to the community.
Aftercare may also refer to inpatient services provided for convalescent patients, such as those
who are recovering from surgery.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT): is a team-based treatment model that provides
multidisciplinary, flexible treatment and support to people with mental illness 24/7. ACT is
based around the idea that people receive better care when their mental health care providers
work together. ACT team members help the person address every aspect of their life, whether
it is medication, therapy, social support, employment or housing.

Case Management: is a range of services provided to assist and support individuals in
developing their skills to gain access to needed medical, behavioral health, housing,
employment, social, educational, and other services essential to meeting basic human services.

Cognitive Training: is a term that reflects the theory that cognitive abilities can be maintained
or improved by exercising the brain, in an analogy to the way physical fitness is improved by
exercising the body.

Complex Behavioral Health Conditions: can include serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia,
bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder) or other mental health conditions, with or
without co-occurring substance use disorders that, individually or in combination, have an
impact on one or more functional abilities. Functional limitations can impede an individual’s
ability to live independently at home and engage in the community.

Crisis Intervention: is the brief ‘first-aid’ use of psychotherapy or counseling to persons who
have undergone a highly disruptive experience, such as an unexpected bereavement or a
disaster. Crisis intervention may prevent more serious consequences of the experience, such as
post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also a psychological intervention provided on a short-term,
emergency basis for individuals experiencing mental health crises, such as an acute psychotic
episode or attempted suicide.

Culturally Appropriate: community interventions that are defined as meeting each of the
following characteristics: (a) The intervention is based on the cultural values of the group, (b)
the strategies that make up the intervention reflect the subjective culture (attitudes,
expectancies, norms) of the group, and (c) the components that make up the strategies reflect
the behavioral preferences and expectations of the group’s members.

Exposure Therapy: is a form of therapy in which clinicians create a safe environment in which
to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects,
activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.

Family Engagement: is a family-centered and strengths-based approach to making decisions,
setting goals, and achieving desired outcomes for children and families. It encourages and
empowers families to be their own champions, working toward goals that they have helped to
develop based on their specific family strengths, resources, and needs.

Family Groups: is a therapeutic method that treats a family as a system rather than
concentrating on individual family members. The various approaches may be psychodynamic,
behavioral, systemic, or structural, but all regard the interpersonal dynamics within the family
as more important than individual intrapsychic factors.

Full Service Partnership (FSP): is a collaborative relationship between the County of San Diego
and the client, and when appropriate the client’s family, through which the client may access a
full spectrum of community services to achieve identified goals.

Hoarding: is a compulsion that involves the persistent collection of useless or trivial items (e.g.,
old newspapers, garbage, magazines) and an inability to organize or discard these. The
accumulation of items (usually in piles) leads to the obstruction of living space, causing distress
or impairing function. Any attempt or encouragement by others to discard hoards causes
extreme anxiety.

Interoperability: means the ability of health information systems to work together within and
across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for
individuals and communities.

Milestones of Recovery Scale (MORS): is an evaluation tool for tracking the process of recovery
for individuals with mental illness. MORS is rooted in the principles of psychiatric rehabilitation
and defines recovery as a process beyond symptom reduction, client compliance and service
utilization. It operates from a perspective that meaningful roles and relationships are the
driving forces behind achieving recovery and leading a fuller life.

Motivational Interviewing: is a client-centered yet directive approach for facilitating change by
helping people to resolve ambivalence and find intrinsic reasons for making needed behavior
change. Originally designed for people with substance use disorders, motivational interviewing
is now broadly applied in health care, psychotherapy, correctional, and counseling settings. It is
particularly applicable when low intrinsic motivation for change is an obstacle. Rather than
advocating for and suggesting methods for change, this approach seeks to elicit the client’s own
goals, values, and motivation for change and to negotiate appropriate methods for achieving it.

Neuropsychological Testing: is an evaluation of the presence, nature, and extent of brain
damage or dysfunction derived from the results of various neuropsychological tests. It includes
any of various clinical instruments for assessing cognitive impairment, including those
measuring memory, language, learning, attention, and visuospatial functioning.

Outreach: an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have
access to those services. In addition to delivering services, outreach has an educational role,
raising the awareness of existing services

Peer Support: includes counseling or support by an individual who has experience and/or status
equal to that of the client.

Personal Health Record (PHR): is an electronic application through which individuals can access,
manage and share their health information, and that of others for whom they are authorized, in
a private, secure, and confidential environment. A PHR includes health information managed by
the individual. The clinician’s record of patient encounter, a paper- chart or electronic medical
record (EHR) is managed by the clinician and/or health care institution.

Primary Care: is the basic or general health care a patient receives when he or she first seeks
assistance from a health care system. General practitioners, family practitioners, internists,
obstetricians, gynecologists, and pediatricians are known as primary care providers.
Psychiatric Assessments: are evaluations based on present problems and symptoms, of an
individual’s biological, mental, and social functioning, which may or may not result in a
diagnosis of a mental illness.

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Model: is an evidence-based
practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on
alcohol and illicit drugs. The SBIRT model was incited by an Institute of Medicine
recommendation that called for community-based screening for health risk behaviors, including
substance use.

Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED): is a condition that affects persons from birth up to age
18 who currently or at any time during the past year have had a diagnosable mental,
behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified
within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that results in functional impairment, which
substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or
community activities.

Serious Mental Illness (SMI): is a condition that affects persons aged 18 or older who currently
or at any time in the past year have had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional
disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) of sufficient duration to meet
diagnostic criteria specified within the DSM that has resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities such as maintaining
interpersonal relationships, activities of daily living, self-care, employment, and recreation.

Stigma: includes prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior directed towards individuals
with mental health problems or the internalizing by the mental health sufferer of their
perception of discrimination.

Strengths Based Approach: is a specific method of working with and resolving problems
experienced by the presenting person. It does not attempt to ignore the problems and
difficulties. Rather, it attempts to identify the positive basis of the person’s resources (or what
may need to be added) and strengths that will lay the basis to address the challenges resulting
from the problems.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD): is recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causing clinically and
functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet
major responsibilities at work, school, or home. According to the DSM, a diagnosis of substance
use disorder is based on evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and
pharmacological criteria.

Suicide Prevention: is an umbrella term used for the collective efforts of local community based
organizations, health professionals and related professionals to reduce the incidence of
suicide; reduce factors that increase the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors; and increase
the factors that help strengthen, support, and protect individuals from suicide.

Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI): pays benefits to disabled adults and children who
have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older
without disabilities who meet the financial limits. SSI is a Federal income supplement program
funded by general taxes. It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little
or no income and provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Supportive Housing: is an evidence-based housing intervention that combines non-time-limited
affordable housing assistance with wrap-around supportive services for people experiencing
homelessness, as well as other people with disabilities.

Trauma Informed Care: is a style of care that accounts for the widespread impact of trauma
and the understanding of potential paths for recovery. It includes the recognition of the signs
and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others. Organizations that are trauma-informed
fully integrate knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices and
actively avoid re-traumatization.

Warning Signs of Suicide: include behaviors (examples listed below) that may be signs that
someone is thinking about suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Talking about feeling trapped
  • or unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.


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