FAQs & Glossary

Glossary of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Terms

The following is a list of key concepts and terms that are commonly used in the fields of mental health and substance abuse. Many of these terms have been defined by federal agencies, particularly the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it represents many of the concepts, services, and models of care that are used by mental health and substance abuse programs, services, and systems that serve children, adolescents, and their families. This glossary was taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics webpage.

  1. Assessment
  2. Case Management
  3. Co-Location
  4. Crisis Residential Treatment Services
  5. Day Treatment
  6. Diagnostic Evaluation
  7. Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  8. Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Primary Care
  9. Dual Diagnosis
  10. Early Intervention Program
  11. Emergency & Crisis Services
  12. Evidence-Based Practices
  13. Family Support Services
  14. Inpatient Hospitalization
  15. Intake / Screening
  16. Mental Health
  17. Mental Illness
  18. Mental Health Problems
  19. Residential Treatment Centers
  20. Screening
  21. Serious Emotional Disturbances
  22. System of Care
  23. Wraparound Services


An assessment is a professional, comprehensive, and individualized review of child and family needs that is conducted when services are first sought from a mental health professional (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker). The assessment of the child includes a review of physical and mental health, intelligence, school performance, family situation, and behavior in the community. An assessment also evaluates the strengths and resources of the child and family. Any decisions about treatment and supports should be made by the family and mental health professional together.