Monday, 30 November 2020

Glossary of Terms

Unsure what everyone means when they throw around words like 'warmline,' 'mutuality,' and 'trauma-informed'?  Feeling lost when acronyms (DMH, RLC, RCC, IAP, ASL, etc) get tossed around like they're actual words?  This list of terms is designed to help you stay up-to-date!   It is a list that will continue to grow, so be sure to let us know if you have input or words you'd like to see added!

Please note:  It should be understood that these words are being defined from the perspective of the RLC, the local mental health system and the broader 'recovery' movement.  Some words and abbreviations may carry alternate meanings in other environments.  It is also important to note that while words may be included in this glossary for informational purpposes, the RLC does not necessarily support the use of all words listed.  The RLC holds the value of using open, respectful, strengths-based language that is person-first.


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AA:  AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous.  From the AA website:  Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  For more info on AA (including how to find on-line and in-person meetings), visist the AA website.  For information about AA meetings for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing visit the 'Deaf and Hard of Hearing AA 12 Step Meetings' page.

ACE Study:  The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, conducted through a collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control, was the largest scientific research stufy of its kind (17,000+ persons over the course of 15 years) and served to clearly link the affect of traumatic childhood events with individuals well being over the long term.  Ultimately, it was able to demonstrate a correlation between traumatic childhood experiences and heightened incidences of substance abuse, mental health issues, incarceration, medical complications and early death.  More can be learned about the ACE study at www.acestudy.org

Afiya:  Afiya (A-FEE-yah) is one of about 13 peer respites in the United States and the only peer respite in Massachusetts.  Afiya is a Swahili word that stands for spiritual, physical and emotional health and wholeness.  To learn more about Afiya visit here.
Al-Anon:  Al-Anon was founded by the wife of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and offers support to individuals (including teens) who are friends and family members of those struggling with alcoholism.  From their website:  For over 55 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers.  For more information, visit the Al-Anon website.
All-Recovery:  Some recovery communities identify themselves as being specifically designed for individuals who are working on a particular type of recovery such as mental health recovery, substance abuse recovery, etc.  However, in communities that identify as 'all-recovery,' individuals are welcome to take part regardless of what 'type' of recovery they are working on.  Although the RLC has its roots in mental health recovery, individuals working on any aspect of wellness and healing are welcome to take part.

AMA:  AMA can refer to the American Medical Association (www.ama-assn.org/ama).  However, it can be used as an abbreviation for 'Against Medical Advice.'  For example, when someone has not been officially committed to a hospital, but they choose to leave even if the doctor's recommendation is that they stay, it may be documented that they are leaving against the doctor's advice or 'Against Medical Advice.'

AOT:  AOT stands for 'Assisted Outpatient Treatment.'  This is a more pleasant-sounding way of saying 'forced outpatient treatment' or 'forced outpatient commitment.'  When someone is under an AOT order, it means that they may be required to participate in any number of court-ordered treatments (medication, therapy, day program, etc.) because the court has decided that to not do so would put them at an increased risk of needing to be hospitalized.  Currently, 44 states in America have AOT laws.  (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada and Tennessee do not.)  For more information on AOT click here.

APA:  APA most commonly stands for the American Psychological Association (a professional association for psychologists and psychological research and articles - www.apa.org/) or the American Psychiatric Association (www.psych.org/), the professional organization for psychiatrists.

ASL:  ASL stands for American Sign Language, the first language of many individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.  It is important to remember that many individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing do not use English as their first language.  Because ASL is a totally separate language, it is not directly based on English and so writing or communicating with English may be challenging for those who primarily communicate using ASL.  It is also important to note that not all individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing use American Sign Language.  Sign language varies from country to country (just like the spoken word does), and some individuals in America use a more general form of gestural communicatin that is different than ASL.  In cases where individuals are not comfortable with ASL, an ASL interpreter will not be sufficient and a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) should also be requested.

ATRIUM: ATRIUM stands for 'Addictions and Trauma Recovery Integration Model.'  Developed by Dusty Miller for individual survivors of trauma and their allies, ATRIUM is a practical approach to healing intended to intervene at the three levels impacted by trauma:  Body, mind and spirit.  ATRIUM classes are periodically offered through the Women's Centers of Western Mass, the RLC and other local organizations.  



Berkshire RCC / Berkshire Resource Center / RLC's Pittsfield Center: The Berkshire RCC is what the Western Mass RLC originally called the resource center located in Pittsfield.  It is now most commonly called the RLC's Pittsfield Center.  RCC is no longer used on a regular basis as it became too often confused with RLC.  It is currently located at 152 North Street, Suite 230 in Pittsfield.  It offers 1:1 peer support, workshops and activities as well as access to resource information, a computer lab, library and more.

Bicultural:  In Massachusetts, its most common to hear the word 'bicultural' used to refer to individuals who not only are bilingual in English and Spanish, but have also grown up living as a part of both American and Hispanic or Latino culture.  For example, an individual may have grown up with a family who is from Puerto Rico and follows the culture and language of their heritage at home, while at the same time, that individual is also being exposed to English and American culture at school or in the general community.  However, more generally speaking, 'bicultural' can also refer to individuals who have grown up as a part of both hearing and deaf cultures or any other two cultures in a substantive way and who may or may not also be bilingual.

Bilingual:  Although the term bilingual is most commonly used in Massachusetts to mean individuals who can speak both English and Spanish, bilingual can also refer to individuals who speak both English and American Sign Language or any two of a variety of other languages.

Bowen Resource Center:  The Bowen Resource Center is the RLC's Springfield Center.  Named after founding GCOW member, Shelley Bowen, this center opened in May of 2009 and offers peer support by phone and in person, access to computer and a lending library and a variety of other workshops and activities as well as a gym with cardio and weight lifting equipment (and exercise videos!).  It is located at 340 Main Street in Springfield. 




CART:  CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation.  CART Service provides instantaneous translation of what is being said into visual print display so that it can be read (instead of heard).  For more information on CART, visit the Commission's page on CART information

CDC:  CDC stands for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/).  The CDC offers information and research on any number of health-related topics and was instrumental in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.  

Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI):  Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI) are individuals who are deaf and who are experienced not only with American Sign Language (ASL) but with other gestural forms of communication that may be used by deaf individuals not familiar with ASL.  When an individual who is deaf or hard-of-hearing requests an interpreter, it is important to understand whether they speak ASL or would also need a CDI in order to fully understand an participate in a particular event or conversation.  

Certified Peer Specialist (CPS): This is the certification program offered to individuals in Massachusetts who are interested in becoming Peer Specialists. The training includes a multi-day program followed by a written and oral test. The training is organized and facilitaed by the Transformation Center.  Check the Transformation Center's website for more info on upcoming CPS trainings.

Civil Movement:  Historically, a Civil Rights Movement began in America around issues of race, dsicrimination and fighting for equal rights and representation in the 1950's.  Many see the recovery movement as a Civil Rights Movement that mirrors and stands on the shoulders of this and other movements (e.g., movements related to gender equality, sexuality, etc.). 

Client: 'Client' is a label generally used within the mental health system for individuals who are using mental health services. It was a very popular label several years back, but has now been replaced by 'consumer' in many cases.

Clinical Supports:  Clinical supports are generally those provided by licensed health professionals or in environments overseen by licensed health professionals that strive to treat a particular disease, illness or related health issue.  Clinical supports include therapy, psychiatric services, hospitalization, partial hospitalization, residential services, community-based flexible supports and so on. 

Clubhouse:  Fountain House, the first “Clubhouse,” opened in New York City in 1948. Fountain House was established as an intentional community for men and women who had histories of mental health issues. It was unique in the world of mental health in many important ways including the belief that “members” could work productively and have satisfying lives in spite of the challenges they were facing.  There are now over 300 clubhouses throughout the world, offering community, social activities and work-ordered days that build skills and develop valued roles in the community.  For a listing of Clubhouses in your area checkout the International Clubhouse Directory.

CODA:  CODA stands for 'Child of a Deaf Adult.'  (KODA is also sometimes used to refer to individuals under 18 who are 'kids of deaf adults.')  Children raised by deaf parents often identify both with deaf and hearing cultures.  Learn more about CODA at the Wikipedia page on 'Children of Deaf Adults.'

Comfort Agreement:  It is common within many parts of the recovery community to develop 'comfort agreements' at the start of meetings, trainings and support groups.  These agreements are intended to reflect the needs and values of the individuals participating in a particular activity and to help facilitate a sense of safety and ability to participate freely and effectively for all involved.  Comfort agreements are generally considered to be working documents that may be used across several meetings or groups, but that can always be changed or edited based on the group's needs.  At the Western Mass RLC, the Defining Principles are generally used as the base for any comfort agreements.

Commission for the Deaf and Heard-of-Hearing:  The Comission for the Deaef and Hard-of-Hearing is a state organization that provides training, information and resources to individuals who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and the services that are attempting to support them.  This is also the place to go to request ASL, CDI and CART interpreters. Visit the Commission's website for more information.

Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS): This newer DMH model of services replaces what was often previously referred to as residential services.  As described by DMH,  "CBFS contractors will be responsible for providing treatment, rehabilitation, support and supervision to a defined set of DMH clients in the Area. CBFS services are designed to increase client’s capacity for independent living and their recovery from mental illness."

Competent:  This is primarily a legal term referring to whether or not someone is able to reasonably evaluate the pros and cons of a particular treatment, decision, etc. and/or to reasonably take care of their own basic needs.  If someone is deemed to not be 'competent,' they may be assigned a guardian or the principle of 'substituted judgement' may be used.  (I.E., The court, etc. may become responsible for assessing what the person would choose to do IF they were competent based on evidence available to the court at that time such as family testimony, religious beliefs, past behavior and so on.)  In some instances, people who have developed Advanced Directives or Wellness Recovery Action Plans have been able to have those be used to make decisions about treatment when substituted judgement becomes necessary according to the court.  (I.E., A plan written by the person now judged to be 'incompetent' during a time when they were competent that expresses their needs and preferences may be able to be used to help make decisions.)

Co-opted: Co-opting something refers to the act of taking over an idea, word or project in such a way that it loses its core meaning or purpose. For example, there is a great deal of concern within the recovery community that peer supports could be co-opted if peer workers based in traditional mental health settings are required to manage duties that are not in line with the values and 'heart' of peer work.

Consumer: 'Consumer' is the most frequently used label within the mental health system for individuals who are receiving mental health services.

CORI: CORI stands for Criminal Offender Record Information.  The CORI check is generally required for people who will be working with children, elderly or those labeled as disabled and in many other employment situations.  Some housing and other situations may also required a CORI check.  The laws around the CORI process (including when your CORI can be required, who can view your CORI, how to get something off of your CORI, what they are allowed to do with the information and how it is to be interpreted) is very complex and often changing.  Some additional information about the CORI in Massachusetts can be found here:  www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-personal-sfty/bkgd-check/cori/

C/S/X Movement: The 'C/S/X Movement' stands for the Consumer/Survivor/Ex-Patient Movement.  This movement is made up of individuals who identify as consumers, survivors and ex-patients of the mental health system who are working together to promote recovery and change within that system.

Cultural Competence:  According to Wikipedia, "Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) Awareness of one's own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) cross-cultural skills. Developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures."  Cultural competence is a priority of both the Western Mass RLC and its umbrella agency, the Western Mass Training Consortium.



DBSA:  DBSA stands for the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance.  DBSA offers peer-to-peer support groups for individuals who identify as experiencing depression or bipolar disorder throughout the country.  More information can be found at the DBSA website.

DBT:  DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  DBT is an approach originated by Marsha Linnehan that was first used to treat individuals labeled with Borderline Personality Disorder.  However, over the years, it has grown in popularity and been modified for use in a number of different settings and for individuals experiencing a variety of issues.  DBT incorporates a variety of skills (mindfulness, self-soothing, distracting, communication, etc.) with the acceptance of 'dialectics' (apparent opposites) like both needing to change and being ok as one is.  Although this is traditionally a very clinical approach, some have worked to incorporate sharing and teaching of DBT skills into peer-to-peer support groups, as well.

Deaf Culture:  In addition to having a separate language, individuals who are deaf also have grown up with a deaf culture.  Deaf culture refers to the traditions and expectations for interpersonal interactions, ways of living and so on for individuals who are deaf.  Some examples of deaf culture include the importance of maintaining eye contact while speaking and the directness of conversation between individuals who are deaf.  Learn more at the Wikipedia page on deaf culture

Defining Principles:  In this context, the defining principles (sometimes also referred to as the RLC's 'guiding principles') refers to the RLC's 'code of ethics' or values statement.  The Western Mass RLC is not a rules-based community.  Instead, they operate based on a set of values that were set by the Guiding Council of Western Mass before the RLC even opened its doors.  In both good times and those that are more challenging, the RLC refers back to these values to guide them.  The Defining Principles can be viewed here.

Department of Mental Health (DMH): (a.k.a. 'the Department.') DMH is the state agency responsible for overseeing mental health services in Massachusetts. It is also the primary funding source for the RLCs.

Disability:  Individuals may be referred to (or refer to themselves) as having a 'disability' if they have a physical, medical or emotional issue that impairs or "substantially limits one or more major life acivities" as defined as, "caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working."

DMH Eligibility: In the past, DMH eligibility was the term used to refer to whether or not a particular individual meets a set of criteria that makes them eligible for DMH services.    This is now called the DMH Service Authorization Process.  See the DMH Service Authorization Process for more info! 

DMH Service Authorization Process:  This refers to the process by which a person is determined to meet a set of criteria (clinical criteria, need for service, availability of service) and is authorized to receive the needed services. This process is necessary to access most DMH services with the exception of RLC and clubhouses.  To learn more about this process, check out DMH's webpage on 'Applying for Mental Health Services.'

DRA:  DRA stands for Dual Recovery Anonymous.  From the DRA website:  "Dual Recovery Anonymous is a 12 Step self-help program that is based on the principals of the Twelve Steps and the experiences of men and women in recovery with a dual diagnosis. The DRA program helps us recover from both our chemical dependency and our emotional or psychiatric illness by focusing on relapse prevention and actively improving the quality of our lives. In a community of mutual support, we learn to avoid the risks that lead back to alcohol and drug use as well as reducing the symptoms of our emotional or psychiatric illness."  For more information - including where to find meetings - visit the DRA Website.

DSM-IV:  The DSM-IV stands for the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) .  From the wikipedia page on the DSM: The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.  The manual evolved from systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics, and from a manual developed by the US Army, and was dramatically revised in 1980. The last major revision was the fourth edition ("DSM-IV"), published in 1994, although a "text revision" was produced in 2000. The fifth edition ("DSM-5") is currently in consultation, planning and preparation, due for publication in May 2013."  There is also a great deal of criticism of the DSM and its process for labelling.  For more information on the DSM (including some criticisms), check out Wikipedia's DSM page.

Dual Diagnosis:  Individuals are sometimes referred to as having a 'dual diagnosis,' particularly when they have been diagnosed with both psychiatric and substasnce abuse disorders.   However, as 'dual' ultimately just means more than one purpose or issue at the same time, 'dual diagnosis,' is sometimes also used to refer to individuals who have medical or developmental issues occurring alongside mental health disorders, etc. 

Dual Eligibility:  As healthcare reform moves along, a new term has risen that is used to refer to people who receive both Medicaid and Medicare benefits.  This term is 'Dual Eligibles' or 'Dual eligibility.'  Several states (including Massachusetts) have been selected to conduct a 'Dual Elegibles Demonstration' project.  You can find more out about that here


Elasticity:  In this context, elasticity refers to an individual's ability to re-learn or learn new pathways for coping and experiencing the world.  Trauma research has increasingly suggested, while traumatic experiences may in fact cause changes in the brain, that the brain maintains 'elasticity' and retains its ability to create new pathways based on new experiences. 

Ex-Patients:  Some individuals who have been previously hospitalized or received other mental health services prefer to refer to themselves as ex-patients, as opposed to consumers, survivors and so on. 

Extreme States: A term that individuals use to refer to extreme emotional experiences (such as a period when someone is hearing voices or having hallucinations, or experiencing a time of deep sadness and hopelessness)without giving them a psychiatric label.  Variations on this term include 'extreme emotional states,' and 'extreme psychiatric states.'



First Break:  'First Break' is a term often used to refer to people who are having their first experience with extreme emotional states (often involving what is commonly referred to as 'psychosis').  Many now believe that the supports and services that are offered at this point are critical and have the potential to create a path that allows space for moving through and beyond the experience *or* to push them more deeply into the mental health system on a long-term basis.  In other words, many believe that if properly supported, many people can move through this time and onto the rest of their lives.  But, if they are treated as if their experience is permanent or long-term, that may make a permanent or long-term disability outcome much more likely.

Five Fundamental Rights:  On February 25, 1998, after much advocacy by allies to and members of the recovery movement, important amendments to the Massachusetts laws regarding treatment of individuals for mental health issues took place. The new law, commonly referred to as the 'five fundamental rights' or 'bill of rights' guarantees certain fundamental rights to individuals receiving services from programs or facilities operated by, licensed by, or contracted with the Department of Mental Health (DMH). These rights include The right to 'reasonable access' to a telephone to make and receive confidential calls; The right to send and receive 'sealed, unopened, uncensored mail;' The right to receive visitors of your 'own choosing daily and in private, at reasonable times;' The right to a humane environment including living space which ensures 'privacy and security in resting, sleeping, dressing, bathing and personal hygiene, reading and writing and in tolieting;' the right to access legal representation.  Check out the Five Fundamental Rights Flyer for more info.

Full-time Equivalency (FTE): One FTE is equal to one full-time worker or (usually) 40 hours. More than one worker can be used to make up 1 full FTE. For example, two part-time workers, each working 20 hours per week would also equal 1 FTE and so on. Hence, 4.5 FTEs is the equivalent of 180 worker hours per week, regardless of how many workers are employed to make up those hours. The Western Mass RLC currently operates with 162 hours of regular workers (4.05 FTEs) split between 8 regular workers.

Franklin RCC / RLC's Greenfield Center:  The Franklin Resource Connection Center was the original name of the RLC's Greenfield Center.  RCC has since been dropped as a term as it was too often confused with 'RLC.'  Originally, the RLC's Greenfield Center shared space with the RECOVER Project at 68 Federal Street in Greenfield.  However, in 2011, it moved to an independent space at 74 Federal Street.  This location offers peer supports, access to computers, a lending library and a variety of workshops and groups.



Guiding Council of Western Mass (GCOW): The Guiding Council is a group of individuals from the recovery community in Western Mass and who act as the advisory board to the Western Mass RLC  They existed before the RLC, and were also the group that was instrumental in developing the vision of what the Western Mass RLC would become. Want to know more or learn how to join GCOW? Visit the Guiding Council's page for details and history!

Greenfield Center:  The RLC's Greenfield Center was first called the Franklin RCC or Resource Connection Center.  RCC has since been dropped as a term as it was too often confused with 'RLC.'  Originally, the RLC's Greenfield Center shared space with the RECOVER Project at 68 Federal Street in Greenfield.  However, in 2011, it moved to an independent space at 74 Federal Street.  This location offers peer supports, access to computers, a lending library and a variety of workshops and groups.



Harm Reduction:  Some recovery programs advocate for abstinence.  However, others support a harm-reduction approach that looks to reduce use of an approach or substance that is seen as potentially harmful, and/or exploring ways to reduce the risks involved in how that approach or substance is used.  Harm-reduction is a term most commonly heard around substance use.  (For example, one might take a harm reduction approach by reducing use of a substance or by making sure to use clean needles rather than aiming for no drug use at all.)  However, harm reduction approaches can also be relevant to reducing self-harming (cutting, burning, etc.), the use of psychiatric medications and so on.  Visit the National Harm Reduction Coalition's webpage for more information.

Hearing Voices Movement:  The Hearing Voices movement is an approach that operates strongly from the idea that the experience of hearing voices (or other unusual experiences) need not be pathologized and that the meaning that people develop for themselves is important and valid.  The movement's philosophy suggests that getting rid of voices doesn't necessarily need to be one's goal and that the opportunity to talk about one's voices and share with others who have had similar experiences can be very important to healing.  You can learn more about the international hearing voices movement by visiting www.intervoiceonline.org or about the Hearing Voices movement in the United States by visiting www.hearingvoicesusa.org

Hearing Voices Network:  The Hearing Voices Network refers to the network that exists in each country or area that supports the development of Hearing Voices groups and shares information on hearing voices resources overall.  For more about Hearing Voices USA, visit www.hearingvoicesusa.org

Hispanic:  Hispanic is generally used to refer to an individual or culture from Spain or other primarily Spanish-speaking countries.  Although this is sometimes used interchangably with 'Latino' or 'Latina,' many individuals have a preference for one word or the other based on their heritage and/or personal choice.

Holyoke RCC / RLC's Holyoke Center: The Holyoke Resource Connection Center (RCC) was historically the name of Western Mass RLC's first center which opened in Holyoke in 2007.  It is now most commonly referred to as the RLC's Holyoke Center.   It offers 1:1 peer supports, a computer lab, lending library and a variety of workshops and groups.

Human Experience Language:  Human Experience Language is a phrase used by the Certified Peer Specialist program and others to mean descriptive language that refers to day-to-day life and experiences, rather than language that is geared toward labelling or diagnosing.  Human experience language is generally person-first and non-clinical.

Human Rights:  In general terms, 'human rights' are those rights to which all humans are entitled.  (For more information on human rights in general, check out this Wikipedia article on the United Nation's Universal Declaration on Human Rights.)  In Massachusetts, 'human rights' is also often used to refer to those rights and responsibilities held by individuals receiving mental health services.  Those rights can be viewed in the DMH Human Rights Handbook (available in English and Spanish). 



IAP:  IAP stands for Individualized Action Plan.  IAPs are generally developed with an individual receiving services on an annual basis and are then reviewed and/or revised quarterly.  IAPs may include multiple goals that are being supported by one or more program or service.  (IAPs replaced PSTPs which have now been eliminated.)

iNAPS:  iNAPS stands for the International Association for Peer Supporters (formerly known as the National Association for Peer Specialists).  You can learn more at their website:  www.naops.org

Informed Consent:  In Massachusetts, there is an 'Informed Consent' policy that applies to any facility or provider run or funded by the Department of Mental Health and all individuals served by them.  The Informed Consent policy requires that consent to treatment should be "fully informed, voluntary (free of cercion), knowing and competently given."  It requires that individuals be given the right to "forego treatment... or even cure, if it entails what, for them, are unacceptable consequences or risks, however unwise their decision may be in the eyes of the medical profession or others."  It also requires that alternatives (including lack of treatment) be discussed.  For more information, view the DMH policy of Informed Consent.

IPS:  IPS stands for Intentional Peer Support, an approach originated by Shery Mead.  You can learn more about IPS at www.intentionalpeersupport.com.  IPS also stands for 'Individual Placement and Support' a supported employment approach utilized by many mental health providers.  You can learn more about IPS in the employment context here:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPS_Supported_Employment

ISP:  ISP stands for 'Individual Service Plan.'  An ISP is generally developed on an annual basis by individuals who work with DMH Case Managers.  It is intended to look at an individual's overall needs and goals as they may or may not be being met through a variety of programs and services.

Involuntary Commitment:  Involuntary Commitment occurs when someone has been forced to go to the hospital against their will.  While someone can be held for up to 72 hours at a hospital against their will without a formal commitment process, there must be a legal process involved for a commitment.  A commitment can be for varying lengths of time.  For example, a court may approve a commitment for 'up to six months,' which means that the hospital can keep them hospitalized until either the six months is up OR the hospital deems them safe to leave.  If, at the end of the approved commitment period, the hospital still sees them as unsafe for release, they would need to return to court for a new commitment hearing.  (Actual length of commitment can be shorter or longer than six months, depending on the decision of the court.  Six months is just an example being used here.)  







Latino/Latina:  These are the masculine and feminine forms of the word used to refer to an individual or culture generally from Latin America.  Although this is sometimes used interchangably with 'hispanic,' many individuals have a preference for one or the other based on heritage and/or personal preference.

LEAD:  LEAD stands for Learning, Employment, Advocacy and Development and is a 'sister' to the RLC.  LEAD offers a variety of programs including Career Initiatives (small grants for individuals starting small businesses and/or independent projects), Career Explorers (supporting young adults to explore potential career paths) and the Western Mass Youth Council (supporting young adults to have a voice in services and other important issues).  LEAD collaborated with the RLC to found the Bowen Resource Center and they work closely together on many projects.  Check out LEAD's webpage for more info.

Lived Experience: A term used to describe individuals who have lived through the experience of being given a mental health diagnosis, extreme states, trauma, being a 'client' or 'consumer' within the mental health system, and so on. It is meant to be an open term that includes a variety of experiences and allows individuals to self-identify the labels and language they do or don't want to use for themselves.



Medical Model:  Medical models (e.g., the medical model of mental illness) provide a framework that is based on understanding 'what is wrong' with someone as a product of their mind and physiology.  In medical models, related problems are then regarded as symptoms of a disease or illness.

Medical Model of Mental Illness:  In an effort to give shape and names to some of the different perspectives people hold regarding what is traditionally thought of as 'mental illness,' the Western Mass RLC often refers to the 'Medical Model of Mental Illness,' the 'Social Model of Trauma,' and the 'Social Model of Extreme States.'  These three models help frame conversations and provide a way to talk about some of the different experiences and perspectives many of us hold.  Although the names of the models - in some cases - come out of the Western Mass RLC, all of the perspectives to which they refer are evidence-based and drawn from worldwide research and experiences.  Ultimately, the RLC recommends an 'eclectic approach,' through which individuals are well informed about the different perspectives and are able to then take what works for them from each or all. In the Medical Model of Mental Illness, specifically, individuals are typically given a specific diagnosis based on the DSM-IV (see also 'DSM-IV') and are provided with access to a variety of clinical treatments.  Though views on recovery even within the medical model are shifting, hisotrically, 'recovery' is often defined more around stabilization of symptoms that may be interfering with one's ability to live a full life.


Medication Optimization:  This is a term that refers to an effort to reduce medication cocktails (use of multiple medications) and tendencies toward over medication, to find the lowest possible does of medication (or help someone get off medication).  

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): MOUs may be formed between two separate organizations who wish to have a formal agreement to work together on a particular project or in general.   MOUs may include agreements to make referrals to one another, to offer trainings to one another, to share funds or space or any other of a variety of aspects of collaboration. 

Mental Illness:  Mental illness is one way to look at and understand extreme emotional states and experiences like deep feelings of sadness, hearing voices, and so on.  The perspective of mental illness suggests that these experiences are biologically based and the result of a disease and/or problem in one's brain (e.g., a chemical imbalance).  There are several diagnoses that fall under the broader category of 'mental illness,' including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and so on.  These diagnoses are detailed within the DSM-IV.

MORS:  MORS stands for Milestones of Recovery Scale.  It is an outcome measure used in Massachusetts and other states that requires that an individual's level of recovery be rated on a scale of 1 to 8 based on a number of criteria.  You can learn more about the MORS process at www.milestonesofrecovery.com.  

Motivational Interviewing (MI):  MI is used both as an abbreviation for 'Mental Illness' and for 'Motivational Interviewing.'  Motivational Interviewing is an approach that was developed in the 1980's but has recently regained popularity.  According to the Motivational Interviewing website, this approach is defined as follows:  "Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with nondirective counselling, it is more focused and goal-directed. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is its central purpose, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal."  Find out more information at the Motivational Interviewing website.

Multicultural:  Individuals or events may be considered 'multicultural' if they fundamentally incorporate more than two cultures into who/what they are about and the values and heritage they represent. 

Mutuality:  Above all else, 'mutuality' refers to the focus on the RELATIONSHIP between two people, regardless of who is the 'giver' and who is the 'receiver' of support at a given time.  Whether or not there is a clear give and take between both people, it is understood that both individuals are affected by and can grow and heal from their connection with one another.  Mutuality does NOT necessarily mean there is equal responsibility or roles. 



NA:  NA stands for Narcotics Anonymous and grew out of the AA movement of the 1940's.  From the NA website: "NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We … meet regularly to help each other stay clean. … We are not interested in what or how much you used ... but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help"  To learn more, visit the NA website.

NAMI:  NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  NAMI is a national group with many local chapters.  Although initially formed by family members of individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, NAMI now also offers many peer and educational resources.  From their website:  NAMI's support and public education efforts are focused on educating America about mental illness, offering resources to those in need, and insisting that mental illness become a high national priority. Mental illness is a serious medical illness that affects one in four families. No one is to blame. Treatment works, but only half of people living with mental illness receive treatment. NAMI has engaged in a variety of activities to create awareness about mental illness and promote the promise of recovery.  Check out the NAMI website for more info.

NAPS:  NAPS stands for the National Association for Peer Specialists which has now become the International Association for Peer Supporters in order to expand their reach to other countries and to those who are not Certified Peer Specialists.  You can learn more at their website:  www.naops.org

Neurodiversity:  From Wikipedia:  "Neurodiversity is an idea which asserts that atypical (neurodivergent) neurological development is a normal human difference that is to be recognized and respected as any other human variation.  Differences may arise in ways of processing information, including language, sound, images, light, texture, taste, or movement."  The concept of neurodiversity is particularly embraced by many individuals who identify as having Aspergers or other Autism Spectrum Disorders.  For individuals who identify in this way, the concept of 'recovery,' can be offensive in that it implies that there is something wrong with the individual that needs to be 'fixed,' rather than the problem lying within the larger community and their tolerance of differences.  For more information on neurodiversity, visit the neurodiversity.com website.

NIMH:  NIMH stands for the National Instituted of Mental Health.  NIMH sees itself as the "largest scientific organization in the world" dedicated to research and understanding of psychiatric diagnoses and related experiences.  NIMH recently made news when their director, Thomas Insel, wrote an article distancing NIMH from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.  You can read more about that here.

Non-Compliant:  'Non-compliant' is a term sometimes used by clinicians to refer to individuals who are refusing to follow the recommended treatment(s).  This term is not recovery-oriented or based in person-center care as it implies that clinicians/providers are the individuals who are in the position to be determining what the right treatments are without the input of the individual.



OA:  OA stands for Overeaters Anonymous.  From their website: Overeaters Anonymous offers a program of recovery from compulsive eating using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Worldwide meetings and other tools provide a fellowship of experience, strength and hope where members respect one another’s anonymity. OA charges no dues or fees; it is self-supporting through member contributions.  OA is not just about weight loss, gain or maintenance; or obesity or diets. It addresses physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  Visit the OA website for more information.

Open Dialogue:  Open Dialogue is an approach that was developed by Jaakko Seikkula and others and implemented in the Northern Laplands of Finland.  It is finding the best documented recovery outcomes in the world.  It is a clinical approach, but is quite different than traditional clinical approaches in the United States and other nations (including other parts of Finland).  Some of the components of Open Dialogue include low or no medication use, quick and consistent response time, an assumption that problems lie 'in the space between people' rather than just in the one person who appears to be the one struggling the most, and approach that incorporates multiple clinicians and people from the individual's family/friend support system in the community.  For more on the Open Dialogue approach, visit here.

Oppression:  Oppression is defined as the act of exercising unjust or excessive use of power to restrict the rights, choices and access of an individual or group.  Many individuals in the recovery movement believe - based on stigma and a number of other issues - that individuals diagnosed with psychiatric labels have experienced oppression within the mental health system and in the community in general.



Partial Hospitalization:  When an individual is hospitalized, that generally means they are staying at the hospital during the day and sleeping there at night.  However, in partial hospitalization, an individual attends a structured day program based in a clinical setting and then returns home at night.  Partial hospital programs can extend over the course of days or weeks and typically includes therapy, psychiatric and group supports. 

Peer: In this context, peer is intended to refer to individuals who identify as having lived experience and a personal recovery story.  However, this use is seen as highly problematic by many people who do not wish to see 'peer' become an identity or one-word label like consumer, client and so on.  Many argue that 'peer' simply means another person or group with whom you relate based on some shared experience(s).  

Peer Bridger:  'Peer Bridger' is one title within the realm of peer roles.  It can be used to indicate a variety of responsibilities, but is most often used to refer to a peer worker whose primary duties center around supporting individuals to transition from one environment or service to another (e.g., from being in the hospital to returning to the community).  'Peer Bridger' roles should also be built around the ideas listed under 'Peer Roles.'

Peer Community Coordinator:  'Peer Community Coordinator' is one title within the realm of peer roles.  At the Western Mass RLC, it has historically been used to refer to peer workers who are in the role of helping to facilitate the growth and ease of community development in a particular area or at a particular center.  'Peer Community Coordinator' roles at the RLC have also historically been built around the ideas listed under 'Peer Roles.'

Person-Centered Care:  Person-centered care (or treatment) is care or treatment that is based on the goals of the individual being supported, as opposed to the goals of the system or as defined by a doctor or other professional.  For example, in person-centered environments:

*  Individuals are always present at any meetings about their treatment (Nothing about us, without us!)

*  They have the first and last say about who else is involved in meetings regarding their care

*  Words like compliance (implying going along with someone else's judgement, decision or goal) are not used

All options are fully discussed, information about alternatives is provided and personal choices are respected

Peer-Driven or Peer-led:  In this context, a program that is peer-driven is one where individuals with lived experience are involved in decision making and community development, but there are paid employees in place who may not identify as or act as 'peers' and who help facilitate the decisions and preferences of the peer community.

Peer Facilitator:  'Peer Facilitator' is one title within the realm of peer roles.  It is most frequently used to describe someone in a peer role who has been trained to and is responsible for facilitating one or more types of peer-lead groups.  In Massachusetts, Peer Facilitator trainings are offered across the state by the Transformation Center and various RLCs.  'Peer Facilitator' roles should also be built around the ideas listed under 'Peer Roles.'

Peer Mentor:  'Peer Mentor' is one title within the realm of peer roles.  It can be used to indicate several responsibilities, but most frequently is used to refer to an individual who is working one-on-one with someone who is less far along in their recovery to help support them and inspire hope.  'Peer Mentor' roles should also be built around the ideas listed under 'Peer Roles.'

Peer Participatory Process:  In communities and organizations where a 'peer participatory process' is in place, individuals with from the community who use (past and current) and are most affected by the services and/or supports being provided have a primary role in making decisions about how the program or community is developed.  A true peer participatory process includes participation at every level (not just an advisory board, but also in day-to-day activities, implementation, etc.) in a substantial way (e.g., there are multiple individuals representing the peer voice and a process for taking peer input seriously, etc.).

Peer Respite (or Peer-run Respite):  A peer respite is a space that can serve as an alternative to hospitalization (sometimes called a hospital diversion program) or other traditional services.  Team members working at the peer respite are generally largely or all people who identify as having had their own experiences with psychiatric diagnosis, crisis, hospitalization and other life challenges.  Peer respites do not offer any clinical services, and focus on creating a healing space and peer support.  Generally, peer respites provide space for people to remain connected to clinical services in the community if they so choose, though clinical services are not required at all and everything is based on personal choice and preferences.  To learn more about peer respite, visit our page on Afiya, the only peer respite in Massachusetts.

Peer-run: In this context, 'peer-run' is intended to refer to a project or organization that is overseen and directed by individuals who clearly identify as having lived experience. In the case of the Western Mass RLC, all employees (including all leadership roles) amd all members of the advisory board identify as having lived experience. Thus, although their umbrella organization is not peer-run, the RLC is considered to be peer-run.  (For an organization to be considered 'peer-run,' it is generally a prerequsite that at least 51% of the Board of Directors identifies as having lived experience.  The Transformation Center and MPOWER are examples of fully peer-run organizations.)

Peer Roles:  There are many types of 'peer roles.'  However, central to all peer roles are the following ideas:

*  One's personal experience and recovery story is the most valuable tool they have in their work

*  Being 'in but not of' the system is central to their role (i.e., all individuals in peer roles should be present to support and advocate for the individual's goals and should not be responsible for goals or processes of the system within which that person exists)

Peer Services or Peer Supports: These are service and support offerings (1:1 and in groups) provided by individuals who have lived experience and who are willing and able to use their own recovery stories as a primary tool to support others.

Typically, a separation is made between services that are considered 'clinical' and those that are considered to be 'peer' supports. While there are some overlaps, there are also primary differences in training, focus and approach.

Both individuals working in the 'clinical' and 'peer' worlds may have various levels of training, licensure and/or certification. However, there is greater emphasis on schooling in the clinical world, and greater emphasis on life experience in the other. Along those same lines, in clinical services, although therapists or staff may sometimes disclose their own experiences, the approach is generally objective, detached and based on learned theory. Whereas, in peer supports, the core approach is generally based on mutuality and the wisdom gained from having lived through particular experiences. Similarly, though listening and other skills may be used in both the peer and clinical worlds, clinical supports are primarily focused on the service provided while peer supports are primarily focused on the relationship and the human connection provided. 

With peer supports, it's also critical to note that the primary goals generally include supporting an individual to find and use their own voice.  Thus, there are many tasks that peer supporters must not engage in in order to preserve the integrity of their role and prioritize self-determination and being there to represent the individual.  These include medication administration and rep-payeeship among others.

Peer Worker:  There are many titles used for peer work including (but not limited to) 'peer mentor,' 'peer bridger,' 'peer specialist,' and so on.  'Peer worker,' is generally the most generic of those terms and can be used to refer to an individual working in any peer role (volunteer or paid).  'Peer role' is then defined as any role filled by an individual with lived experience who uses their lived experience as one of their primary tools to support others and whose duties are built around supporting the individual's goals rather than supporting the processes of the system.

Pittsfield Center:  The Berkshire RCC is what the Western Mass RLC originally called the resource center located in Pittsfield.  It is now most commonly called the RLC's Pittsfield Center.  RCC is no longer used on a regular basis as it became too often confused with RLC.  It is currently located at 152 North Street, Suite 230 in Pittsfield.  It offers 1:1 peer support, workshops and activities as well as access to resource information, a computer lab, library and more.

PSB:  This acronym has become a popular way to refer to 'Problematic Sexual Behaviors.'  Often, it is used to refer to someone who has been convicted of a sex-related crime and has been placed on the Sex Offenders Registry or someone who has been clinically assessed and believed to be engaged in sexually-related actions that could lead to legal problems.

PSTP:  PSTP stands for 'Program Specific Treatment Plan.' PSTPs are no longer used and have been replacd by IAPs.  When they existed, PSTPs were plans developed by individuals receiving residential services alongside the provider of those services.  PSTPs generally focused on a variety of goals relevant to that individuals recovery and independence that are developed annually and reviewed on a regular basis.

Peer Support Whole Health and Resiliency Training (PSWHR):  This training was developed by the Appalachian Consulting group in Georgia and focuses on the idea of finding wellness by setting goals in areas relevant to the individual that may include spirituality, exercise and so on.  You can learn more here.





R-Day:  R-Day stands for 'Rehab Day.'  When soemone is enrolled in a Department of Mental Health (DMH) service like Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS), it is assumed that at least some days will be 'R-Days' because CBFS is seen as a service that is geared toward rehabilitation (rather than just maintenance).  To qualify as an R-Day, a given individual must have worked on a goal that was documented in their Individual Action Plan (IAP) and it must be properly documented in service notes.  Although DMH pays a service provider for all enrolled days, even if they do not qualify as an 'R-Day,' when a day qualifies as an R-Day DMH is able to be reimbursed 50% of that expense by Medicaid.  There is an average of about 25% R-Days across the state of Massachusetts.

Recovery: There are many definitions for the term 'recovery,' and some feel that it has become a 'buzz word' that has lost much of its meaning and power. Ultimately, most use it to refer to each individual's path and process to personal wellness.  However, there are those who choose to avoid this word because of its implications that one is nececssarily must have been broken or 'off' in some way in order to need to 'recover.'  This is particularly true in communities where the concept of neurodiversity is embraced.  (See also 'neurodiversity.')  It also holds true for many whose beliefs relate to the Social Model of Extreme States and a number of other perspectives.  (See also 'Social Model of Extreme States.')

Recovery Annex:  The Recovery Annex is a space co-developed by the Western Mass RLC and the RECOVER Project and is located at 74 Federal Street in Greenfield.  This space - formerly an old comic book store in poor condition - was re-worked entirely by the RLC and RECOVER communities into a beautiful, art-filled space that is now used for yoga, support groups and a variety of other events.

Recovery Community: 'Recovery community' generally refers to a community made up of individuals who have experienced significant challenges in their lives from which they have had to 'recover' so that they may continue down their desire life's path.  In terms of the RLC community, many who make up our recovery community identify as having been or being a 'consumer' of mental health services, having been diagnosed with and/or treated for a serious mental illness, having experienced extreme states or trauma, and/or having sought to manage their experiences with traditional or non-traditional methods.

Recovery Learning Community (RLC): In 2007, three RLCs were funded to begin start up in Massachusetts including the Western Mass RLC, the Central Mass RLC, and the Metro Suburban RLC. The main purpose of the RLCs is to provide peer supports to individuals who are working on their recovery, as well as to help provide a network of supports throughout each area by tying existing services together. How these peer supports are organized and offered may vary from region to region. It should be noted that 'RLC' refers to a whole project that is intended to be interwoven into a whole community and does not refer to a particular physical site. See Resource Connection Centers or RCCs for more information on the physical sites of the RLCs.

Recovery Movement:  Sometimes used interchangably with phrases like the 'c/s/x movement,' the recovery movement refers to a group made up of individuals who have received mental health services and been given psychiatric diagnoses and/or experienced extreme states who are working together to promote the belief in recovery and change within the mental health system.  Allies who identify with the core values and mission of the recovery movement are also seen as having an important role.

RECOVER Project:  The RECOVER Project is a peer support community built by individuals in recovery from addiction and substance abuse issues.  The RLC shares space with the RECOVER Project in Greenfield.  Learn more about the RECOVER Project at their webpage.

Recovery Story:  A recovery story is a story that focuses on an individual's challenges and how they have learned, moved forward and grown in the face of those experiences.  Recovery stories generally focus on hope, inspiration, wellness and healing as opposed to graphic details of what things were like at their worst.  Individuals rarely tell their WHOLE recovery story in one sitting, but rather pick and choose the piece of their story that makes the most sense for the given audience, purpose and time available.  For example, an individual may focus only about the part of their story where they successfully found housing when speaking with someone who is struggling to find a home.  However, the same person might tell a longer and broader version of their story when speaking to a group of students about what helped them recover, and so on.

Rehab Option:  In order to achieve Rehab Option Certification (and thus be able to participate in the R-Day process), a provider must go through periodic review and meet a number of standards that include the presence and proper development and maintenance of the following items:

  • Medical Records
  • Assessments (Adult Comprehensive Assessment and Adult Comprehensive Assessment Update)
  • Determination of Medical Necessity (Clinical Formulation-Interpretive Summary)
  • Treatment Plans (Individualized Action Plan and Individual Service Plan as applicable)
  • Service Notes
  • Quarterly Reviews
  • Discharge Summaries

For more information on Rehab Option certification and standards, visit here.

Relapse:  Relapse can refer to a recurrence of an activity, symptom or emotional state that an individual has worked to move past.  For example, an individual who identifies as an alcoholic might 'relapse' and have a drink.  An individual who has experienced feelings of depression and had difficulty leaving home in the past may again experience a period of deepened sadness and again experience isolation.  In the past, 'relapse' has sometimes been seen as a failure in the process of recovery.  However, most say that relapse is a part of recovery and an opportunity to learn and move forward.

Rep-Payee:  'Rep-Payee' stands for Representative Payee.  A Representative Payee is assigned when it has been determined that someone is not able to manage their Social Security funds (Social Security Disability Income and/or Supplemental Security Income) in a way that sufficiently meets their basic needs.  Usually, this determination is made by filling out paperwork through Social Security and with the support of a doctor.  A 'Rep-Payee' may be a family member, friend, service provider, lawyer or other person or group in the community.  Generally, that person or group then becomes responsible for making sure that Social Security funds are budgeted in such a way as to meet the person's basic needs for each month and that bills are paid.  There are many restrictions on how a rep-payee handles an individual's money.  For example, the Rep-Payee may not use the individual's money to bribe or reward them for doing a particular chore or complying with treatment.  In order to change who your Rep-Payee is or to get Social Security to send you your money directly without a Rep-Payee, more paperwork must be filed and generally documentation from a doctor is required when a rep-payee will no longer be used.  More information can be found here.

Request for Response (RFR): A document used by DMH and other departments and organizations to provide notification of a particular project that they wish to fund, and request that qualified parties submit a bid stating how they would meet the requirements of the proposed project and why they are the best candidates to do so. It is essentially a request for a grant proposal on a particular initiative. RFR is often used interchangeably with RFP (Request for Proposal).  Current and past RFRs can be viewed at www.comm-pass.com.

Resiliency:  Resiliency refers to one's ability to recover from illness, challenges and adversity.  In the recovery community, people are generally believed to be inherently resilient and able to recovery. 

Resiliency Bank:  A resiliency bank refers to a store of positive energy that can aid individuals in bouncing back from difficult situations and adversity.  Many believe that taking good care of one's self can build one's 'resliency bank,' so that when they experience challenges it is easier to maintain wellness and heal than it would have been if their energy were depleted.

Resource Connection Center (RCC) or Resource Center: Each RLC has at least one center that acts as a physical site for that RLC community. For example, in Western Mass,  centers are located in Holyoke, Greenfield, Pittsfield and Springfield.  Each offers call-in and walk-in access to peer support, resource information, a computer lab, a library and space for workshops and trainings.  The Western Mass RLC used to call these 'RCC's, but when that became to confusing (RLC was often confused with RCC), we moved to calling the centers 'Resource Centers.'

Rogers Order:  A Rogers Order is a court judgement that indicates that the courts - through due process - have found that an individual is not competent to assess and accept or deny psychiatric medications and related treatments.  The Rogers Order process is based on the principle of substituted judgement and, in cases, where individuals are believed not to be competent to assess the risks of following or not following a particular course of treatment, the court is expected to make an effort to determine whether or not an individual WOULD accept that treatment IF they were competent to do so prior to issuing a judgement.  As more a a judgement of competence, it is not intended as an authorization to force treatment or require hospitalization when individuals in the community refuse medication.  It is actually based on the case of Rubie Rogers who fought against forced treatment.  The Rogers Order was, at the time it was first ruled, considered to be a victory for Ms. Rogers and a judgement against forced treatment.  For more information, view the actual Rogers ruling.



Section 12:

Section 16:

Section 35:

Self-harm / Self-inflicted Violence (SIV): Some individuals use self-harm (also known as self-inflicted violence or SIV and can include cutting, burning, hair pulling, etc.) as a way to cope with emotional pain or other distressing experiences.  Although, in the past, people have sometimes interpreted this type of self-harming as meaning that someone is suicidal, most people now understand that self-harming is a coping mechanism and is not connected to an intend to suicide.  In fact, some research shows that attempting to take away a person's ability to self-harm may increase the risk of suicide because you have taken away one of their ways of coping.  Check out the 'Healing Self-Injury' website for more information.

SMI (or SPMI):  In this context, SMI refers to 'serious mental illness' (or 'Serious and Persistent Mental Illness').  It is a label sometimes used by providers of clinical services.  According to the National Institute of Mental health, 'SMI' refers toindividuals who have "a diagnosisof non-organic psychosis or personality disorder; durationcharacterised as involving "prolonged illness and long-termtreatment" and operationalised as a two-year or longer historyof mental illness or treatment; and disability, which wasdescribed as including at least three of the eight specifiedcriteria."

Social Model:  In contract to medical models that look inside someone to find answers, social models look at the person in connection with their environment.  (See also the 'Social Model of Trauma' and the 'Social Model of Extreme States.')

Social Model of Extreme States: In an effort to give shape and names to some of the different perspectives people hold regarding what is traditionally thought of as 'mental illness,' the Western Mass RLC often refers to the 'Medical Model of Mental Illness,' the 'Social Model of Trauma,' and the 'Social Model of Extreme States.'  These three models help frame conversations and provide a way to talk about some of the different experiences and perspectives many of us hold.  Although the names of the models - in some cases - come out of the Western Mass RLC, all of the perspectives to which they refer are evidence-based and drawn from worldwide research and experiences.  Ultimately, the RLC recommends an 'eclectic approach,' through which individuals are well informed about the different perspectives and are able to then take what works for them from each or all.  The Social Model of Extreme States, specifically, refers to the belief that experiences commonly labeled as 'mental illnesses' may actually be a necessary process connected to spiritual emergency, environment and/or a number of other factors.  In this model, it is assumed that most individuals are able to move through their extreme states if supported and given the space and time to do so.  This model is also the least likely to define extreme experiences (hearing voices, periods of heightened sensitivity, etc.) as necessarily 'bad' or as experiences to necessarily 'get rid of,' and may focus more on finding balance and ways to manage those experiences and sensitivities. 

Social Model of Trauma:  In an effort to give shape and names to some of the different perspectives people hold regarding what is traditionally thought of as 'mental illness,' the Western Mass RLC often refers to the 'Medical Model of Mental Illness,' the 'Social Model of Trauma,' and the 'Social Model of Extreme States.'  These three models help frame conversations and provide a way to talk about some of the different experiences and perspectives many of us hold.  Although the names of the models - in some cases - come out of the Western Mass RLC, all of the perspectives to which they refer are evidence-based and drawn from worldwide research and experiences.  Ultimately, the RLC recommends an 'eclectic approach,' through which individuals are well informed about the different perspectives and are able to then take what works for them from each or all.  The Social Model of Trauma, specifically, refers to the belief that experiences commonly labeled as 'mental illnesses' are actually learned responses to one's environment and trauma and that one has the capacity to re-learn new ways of interacting with their environment as they heal.  (See also 'ACE Study' and 'Trauma-informed.') 

SSDI:  SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance.  SSDI enables workers who are or have been employed in covered employment and who have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability to collect benefits while they are unable to work.  The amount of SSDI benefits received each month depends on the length of an individual's employment history and the amount earned during that time.  Individuals who receive lower SSDI payments due to a shorter work history may also qualify for SSI.  Unlike SSI, SSDI is NOT based on other assets or savings you may have accumulated.  It IS possible to go back to work or school when you feel ready, even if you are receiving SSDI benefits and there are a number of supports to help you figure out a plan to do so.  Check out the Beneplan website for more info.

SSI:  SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income.  SSI is available to individuals 65 and over or individuals identified as having a disability that prevents them from working and who need income to support their basic needs (housing, food, etc.).  You do not have to have a work history to qualify for SSI payments.  However, individuals who have savings above a certain amount or other assets that could be used to support their basic needs may be disqualified.  It IS possible to go back to work or school when you feel ready, even if you are receiving SSDI benefits and there are a number of supports to help you figure out a plan to do so.  Check out the Beneplan website for more info.

Springfield RCC:  The Springfield Resource Connection Center (RCC) is generally referred to by its name: the Bowen Resource Center.  Named after founding GCOW member, Shelley Bowen, this center opened in May of 2009 and offers peer support by phone and in person, access to computer and a lending library and a variety of other workshops and activities.  It is located at 340 Main Street in Springfield.

Sorenson Video Relay:  Sorenson is one of the primary providers of Video Relay Services.  Video Relay Services are servicecs for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.  These services allow individuals to use video to communicate with others.  In cases, where two deaf individuals are communicating with one another, the video relay services allow them to call each other directly and see each other visually on a monitor to allow for the use of sign language.  In cases where an individual who is deaf is attempting to call a service or an individual who is not deaf, a video relay operator is available to sign with the deaf individual and interpret into English for the hearing individual.  To find out more about Sorenson Video Relay Services check out their website.  Individuals who are hearing and who wish to call someone who has a video relay system can first call 1-866-926-8877 to connect with a video relay operator.  Check out the Massachusetts Video Relay website for additional information.  Spanish translation is available.

Soteria:  Soteria is a low or no medication approach for the treatment of individuals who are experiencing their 'first break' (first experience with emotional distress often referred to as psychosis).  The first Soteria house was based in California and developed by Loren Mosher.  Soteria houses now exist in Alaska and (in progress of being developed) Vermont.  To learn more about Soteria visit www.moshersoteria.com/.

Sponsor:  In most twelve-step communities, individuals are encoruaged to find sponsors.  Sponsors are individuals who are further along in their recovery process and can provide support and hope to individuals in earlier parts of their process.  (A sponsor is similar to a peer mentor.) 

Springfield Center:  The Bowen Resource Center is the RLC's Springfield Center.  Named after founding GCOW member, Shelley Bowen, this center opened in May of 2009 and offers peer support by phone and in person, access to computer and a lending library and a variety of other workshops and activities as well as a gym with cardio and weight lifting equipment (and exercise videos!).  It is located at 340 Main Street in Springfield.

Substituted Judgement:  The principle of substituted judgement is a court process used in some cases where individuals are judged to be incompetent to understand and assess the risks and benefits of particular treatment.  In cases where substituted judgement is used, courts are supposed to assess what the particular individual would likely choose IF they WERE competent (including consideration of reports from family and others who are familiar with the individual's preferences, statements and written plans made by the individual when they were believed to be competent, religious beliefs, etc.).  Substituted judgement is NOT intended to mean that someone else's judgement is substituted for the idnividual's judgement.



Trauma-informed: 'Trauma-informed' generally refers to operating on the assumption that the majority of people with whom one will come in contact have experienced trauma in their lives.  This perspective encourages individuals to ask 'What happened to you,' rather than 'What is wrong with you,' and to approach understanding an individual's way of interacting with the world as being a reaction to their past trauma and environment rather than solely as an internal process or biology.  In 'trauma-informed' environments, individuals work toward developing environments where physical space, activities and interpersonal interactions are also based on these assumptions.  Examples of goals and values that may be present in trauma-sensitive environments include avoidance of yelling or loud noises, avoidance of asking people to sit with their backs to doors, having at least two facilitators or peer workers present at all times and having clear expectations and transparency in all processes.  A trauma-informed perspective also assumes that the meeting of one's basic needs (food, sleep, safe space) is an essential step to allowing them to see the world as a safe place and beginning to heal.

Examples of trauma can include physical and emotional abuse, poverty, racism and so on.  The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) study is one of the largest studies ever done to demonstrate the potential affects of trauma and the centrality of trauma in our lives.  More can be learned about the ACE study at www.acestudy.org.

Treatment Resistant:  'Treatment resistant' is a term sometimes used in clinical treatment to refer to an individual that clinicians feel is not improving or having difficulty improving inspite of treatment  provided and/or who is resistant to following treatment recommendations.  'Treatment resistant' is not generally considered to be a term that is recovery-oriented or based on person-centered care.

TTY:  TTY stands for Teletypewriter, a typing device used to communicate with individuals who are deaf.  TTY machines attach directly to phone lines or a phone unit and allow hearing individuals and deaf individuals to communicate through typing.  When a deaf individuals is using a TTY to call a hearing person (or vice versa) who does not have access to a TTY machine, they can use a TTY operator to translate.  Because not all individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are fluent in English, typing in English can be a challenge and so Video Relay Services are now also available allowing individuals to communicate by phone using sign language.  If you do not have a TTY machine, and want to call someone who uses a TTY,   dial 711 or 800.439.0183.  For information on how to use TTYs and TTY etiquette visit the TTY Overview webpage on the Mass Commission for the Deaf's website or visit the Mass Relay website.  Spanish translation is available.

Twelve-Step Groups:  As described on Answers.com: "Of or being a program designed to assist in the recovery from addiction or compulsive behavior, especially a spiritually-oriented program based on the principles of acknowledging one's personal insufficiency and accepting help from a higher power."  However, it should be noted that most twelve-step groups state that individuals do not need to be spiritually inclined to participate in and benefit from twelve-step programs and that the 'higher power' can be something as simple as a door knob.





Video Relay Services:  Video Relay Services (VRS) are servicecs for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.  These services act much like a phone for hearing individuals and allow individuals who are deaf to use video to communicate with others through sign language.  In cases, where two deaf individuals are communicating with one another, the video relay services allow them to call each other directly and see each other visually on a monitor to allow for the use of sign language.  In cases where an individual who is deaf is attempting to call a service or an individual who is not deaf, a video relay operator is available to sign with the deaf individual and interpret into English for the hearing individual.  Individuals who are hearing and who wish to call someone who has a video relay system can first call 1-866-926-8877 to connect with a video relay operator.  Check out the Massachusetts Video Relay website for additional information.  Spanish translation is available.

Voluntary Commitment:



Warmline:  Warmlines are phone lines answered by peer workers who are there to offer general support and/or resource information.  Warmlines typically offer hours during the evenings and weekends (when other services are often closed) and are available to individuals who are bored, lonely, isolated, sad, anxious, struggling or just want to talk to someone.  In Massachusetts, there are two warmlines that offer toll-free numbers and are accessible to the Western Mass area.  There is also one outbound warmline based in Western Mass where individuals may sign up to receive check-in calls from a warmline worker on a weekly basis.  (You can sign up for the outbound warmline by calling (413) 539-5941 ext. )  There are also a number of other nationally-based warmlines that offer toll-free access.  For information on warmlines across the country check out the Warmlines website.

Wellness: A term often used in place of 'recovery,' wellness refers simply to your own state of feeling and being well.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): Originally developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, and as described at www.copelandcenter.com, WRAP "is a self-management and recovery system developed by a group of people who had mental health difficulties and who were struggling to incorporate wellness tools and strategies into their lives." It provides a structured approach to developing a personalized wellness plan, including drawing a picture of what you look like when you're well and making specific plans of who can help you (and how) when you are not well.

Wellness Tools: Those approaches, skills and coping mechanisms that you use to stay feeling well. For instance, going for regular walks, reading, eating well and/or getting enough sleep may be a wellness tool that you use for yourself.



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