Acronym buster

Acronym cartoon


Here are some common acronyms used in mental health and mental health care:



AAWR – As and when required; same as PRN

AC – Approved clinicianAcronyms AMHP 2

AHP – Allied health professional

AMHP – Approved mental health professional (formerly ASW)

AMU – Acute medical unit

AO – Assertive outreachAcronyms AMHP

ASW – Approved social worker (now AMHP)

AWOL – Absent without leave

BAI – Beck anxiety inventory (test)

BDI – Beck depression inventory (test)

BIA – Best interests assessor

BNF – British National Formulary

BYI – Beck youth inventory (test)

CAMHS – Child and adolescent mental health services

Acronyms CATCAT – Cognitive analytic therapy

CATT – Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team

CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy

CC – Care coordinator

CMHRS – Community mental health recovery service (same as CMHT)

CMHT – Community mental health team (see also CMHRS)

CPA – Care programme approachAcronyms CPN

CPN – Community psychiatric nurse

CQC Care Quality Commission

CRHT – Crisis resolution and home treatment

CTO – Community treatment orderAcronyms FFT

DAMA – Dishcarge against medical advice

DBS – Disclosure and barring service

DBT – Dialectical behavior therapy

DH or DoH – Department of Health

DIT – Dynamic interpersonal therapy

DNA – Did not attend

DOLS – Deprivation of liberty safeguards

DWP – Department for Work and Pensions

ECT – Electroconvulsive therapy

EBE – Expert by experience

EMDR – Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing

FFT – Friends and Family Test

FTD – Formal thought disorder

GMC – General Medical CouncilAcronyms HCA 2

HCA – Health care assistant

HWE Healthwatch England

HONOS – Health of the nations outcome scale

HTT – Home treatment team

HWE – Healthwatch England

IAPT – Increasing access to psychological therapies (programme)

IMCA – Independent mental capacity advocateAcronyms IMHA

IMHA – Independent mental health advocate

IMI – Intra-muscular injection

IPT – Interpersonal psychodynamic therapy

NKDA – No known drug allergy

KPI – Key performance indicator

LAI – Long acting injection

LTCP – Long term challenging patient (used in nursing homes/community care)

LUNSERS – Liverpool University neuroleptic side effects raAcronyms MWIAting scale

MDT – Multi-disciplinary team

MHA – Mental Health Act

MHRT – Mental health review tribunal

MIMHS – Mother and infant mental health

MOHO – Model of Human occupation

MSE or MMSE – Mini-mental state examination

MWIA – Mental well-being impact assessment

NICE – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

NMC – Nursing and Midwifery Council

NMP – Non medical prescriber

OOH – Out of hoursAcronyms CMHT

OTC – Over-the-counter

PALS – Patient advice and liaison service

PANSS – Positive and negative syndrome scale (test)

PASS – Patient Advice and Support Service (Scotland)

PBR – Payment by results

PICU – Psychiatric intensive care unit (or paediatric ICU)

PIT – Psychodynamic interpersonal therapy

PPG – Patient participation group

PRN – Pro re nata (medication that is given when needed); same as AAWR

RC – Responsible clinician

RCGP – Royal College of General Practitioners

RCP – Royal College of Psychiatrists

RCT – Randomised controlled trialAcronym TTO

RMHN – Registered mental health nurse

SCL-90 – Symptom checklist (test)

SHO – Senior house officer

SOAD – Second opinion approved doctor

T2 form – MHA consent to treatment form

T3 form – MHA non-consent to treatment form

TSI – Trauma symptom inventory (test)

TTO or TTA – To Take Outs or To Take Aways

WRAP – Wellness recovery action plan


Finally, here’s a link to the NHS Confederation’s acronym buster for the wider NHS, where you can also download the free NHS Acronym app, with over 500 commonly used NHS acronyms.


With thanks to the following for their contributions:

Bexatron (@DuckBeaki), Emilia Duriez-Well (@Emmyduriezwebb), Lwellyn Jenkins (@David_Hughes89), James Andrews (@aptaim), Natalie Moore (@NatalieMHN), Alex Bridge (@mrajbridge), Gemma (@BacrickGemma), Al (@weeal36), Alex Bridge (@mrajbridge), Craig Mullaney (@Mull1974), Ermintrude (@Ermintrude2), Dr Gordon Milson (@gordonmilson)

If you have more, please feel free to add them in the comments below.





7 Responses to “Acronym buster”

  1. halohalcyon 11 January 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    MCA – Mental Capacity Act

    MSE is also known as MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination). TTOs are also known as TTAs (To Take Away)

    I’ve also heard of CATT teams (I think it stands for Crisis and Assessment Treatment Teams) and/or CRT (Crisis Resolution Team) and they’re used in conjunction with HTT.

    DBT – Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

    • Sectioned 11 January 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Thanks – that’s really helpful 🙂

      • bc (@444blackcat) 12 January 2013 at 4:44 pm #

        bd, tds,qds twice three and four times daily Know their not supposed to use them but doctors still do, can’t think of any more for now but just one slight thing the P in AMHP is for Professional not practitioner

  2. Clinical Psychology and People 12 January 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Hi these may or may not be useful:

    IPT – Interpersonal Psychodynamic Therapy
    DIT – Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy
    PIT – Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy
    DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy
    EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

    Often used Tests:

    BAI (Beck Anxiety inventory)
    BDI (Beck Depression Inventory)
    BYI (Beck Youth Inventory)
    TSI (Trauma Symptom Inventory)
    SCL-90 (Symptom Checklist)
    PANSS – (Positive and Negative Symptom Scale)

    Might it be worth explaining Depo?

    Great idea!


    • Sectioned 14 January 2013 at 1:43 am #

      Great, thanks. I’ve added them all 🙂

  3. The Millers Tale 23 November 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    AOT -Assertive Outreach Team
    CART- Care and Responsibility Techniques

    LSE- Low Stimulus Environment
    MHAA- Mental Health Act Administrator

    MS- Manchester Scale
    PAM- Professions Allied to Medicine (still used by some trusts)

    Psymons- Psychiatric Monitoring Systems

    TA -Transactional Analysis


  1. Mental health nursing: what do newbies need to know? « Sectioned - 11 February 2013

    […] Acronym buster […]

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