Glossary

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Below you will find definitions for terms commonly used in this website.

501 (c) 3 : Refers to the Internal Revenue Services tax code, which is an American tax-exempt nonprofit corporation or association.

ACHCSA: Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. This department is part of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.

Accessible Services: Affordable, available and sensitive services to individual needs and cultural values.

Adults: Individuals from ages 18 to under age 60.

Agreement: The formal contract between BHCS and the Contractor.

AOD: Alcohol and Other Drug Services

API: Any individual who is of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry.

Applicant: The individual, group or organization that applies for Innovative Grants Program funds.

Assessment: A service that is based on a method of interview, observation, and testing. This service may include a clinical analysis of the history and current status of a client or patient’s mental, emotional, or behavior disorder, relevant cultural issues and history, diagnosis, and the use of testing procedures.

Best Practice: A body of knowledge that may include scientific, practical or anecdotal elements and that is perceived as an effective method of treatment.

BHCS: Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services.

BHCS Quality Improvement and Compliance Programs: A specific Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services program designed to improve quality and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Brief Therapy: Brief therapy is typically provided for less than one year. It involves low intensity services, rather than wrap around services for durations of one hour for a frequency of once per week or month.

CBO: Also referred to as Community-Based Organization. A public or private non-profit organization of demonstrated effectiveness which is representative of communities or significant segments of communities and which provides services such as those related to health, education or job training.

Child: This term may refer to a young individual between infancy and adolescence, or to an individual who is legally a minor (i.e., younger than 18 years). This term may also describe the relationship with a parent or authority figure.

Community-Based Organization (CBO): Also referred to as CBO. A public or private non-profit organization of demonstrated effectiveness which is representative of communities or significant segments of communities and which provides services such as those related to health, education or job training.

Community Collaboration: The process by which various stakeholders (which may include consumers, families, citizens, agencies, organizations, and businesses) work together to share information and resources in order to accomplish a shared vision. Collaboration allows for shared leadership, decisions, ownership, vision, and responsibility.

Consumer/Client: A consumer is a person who has experienced mental health issues that have disrupted his or her education, employment, housing, social connections and/or quality of life. He or she has utilized mental health services and has a personal experience of stigma, discrimination or social exclusion.1

Consumer-Run: Defined as services that are planned, operated and evaluated by consumers. Consumer-run or operated services do not preclude non-consumers or professionals from being involved, but the inclusion of non-consumers is within in the control of consumer operators.2

Cultural Competence: The practice of continuous self-assessment and community awareness on the part of service providers to assure a focus on the cultural, linguistic, socio-economic, educational and spiritual experiences of consumers and their families/support systems relative to their care.

Developmental Issues: Delays in the appearance of developmental milestones achieved during infancy and early childhood, caused by organic, psychological, or environmental factors. An issue that affects a person's development, such as, mental retardation, epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy or similar disability.

Early Intervention: Is directed toward individuals and families for whom a short-duration (usually less than one year), relatively low-intensity intervention is appropriate to measurably improve mental health treatment or services to prevent a mental health problem from worsening. The term is usually joined in phrase with the term Prevention.

Evidence-Based Practice: An approach to managing mental health services that uses data which shows consistent evidence of improved outcomes to support decision-making.

Externalized Stigma: This refers to negative community stereotypes about individuals with SMI, SED and other mental health issues which can lead to prejudice against, and reduced opportunities for these individuals with mental health issues.

Faith-based Organization: Includes places of worship and nonprofit organizations, which have a long tradition of helping people in need and are an integral part of the social service network.

Family-Driven: For the purposes of the Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Campaign, family-driven is defined as a process that engages and utilizes family member insights, experience and feedback in the process of education, advocacy, support and joint decision making to inform, shape and deliver the campaign components.

Family Involvement: The full participation of family members in all levels of our systems of care including: direct service peer support, system development workgroups, clinical teams, training, management, administration, policy development and legislative advocacy.

Family Member: A person, who has provided primary support for, is a primary caregiver of, or whose daily life is impacted by being a family member (by personal or biological definition) of a person who is living with symptoms of mental illness and/or substance abuse issues. Family members may be the biological parents, foster parents, siblings, spouses, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or anyone else whom the consumer defines as “their family members.”

Family, Significant Other, Significant Support Person: A person, who has provided primary support for, is a primary caregiver of, or whose daily life is impacted by, being a family member (by personal or biological definition) of a person who is living with symptoms of mental illness. Family members may be the biological parents, foster parents, siblings, spouses, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or anyone else whom the consumer defines as “their family members.”

Federal: Refers to United States Federal Government, its departments and/or agencies.

Field Testing: Is defined as testing a technique or product under conditions of actual operation or use. Field testing will ensure that the outcomes and assets for each learning question, have been tested and vetted by those who will use them. Field testing may include focus groups, facilitated discussions, curriculum review or other similar activities involving the groups and individuals identified in each learning question.

FTE: Defined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as "the number of total hours worked divided by the maximum number of compensable hours in a full-time schedule as defined by law." For example, An FTE of 1.0 means that the person is equivalent to a full-time worker, while an FTE of 0.5 signals that the worker is only half-time. For consultants, or other non-staff personnel, enter 0 in the FTE field.

Grantee: Refers to the organization that is awarded funds through the Innovative Grants Program with the campaign. The term “contractor” may also be used interchangeably.

High School: Schools in which the majority of students are in 9th through 12th grade. This definition includes Alternative and Continuation Schools in which the majority of students are in 9th through 12th grade.

Inappropriately-Served Populations: Groups that have received services that may not have resulted in improved mental health outcomes.

Innovation Board: Refers to individuals who will read, rank and possibly interview applicants before prioritizing and awarding Innovative Grants Project funds.

Innovative Grants Program: Refers to the funds and process that grants funds to applicants deemed as meeting the MHSA Innovation guidelines.

Innovative Project: Is the result of an applicant’s awarded grant. See FAQ for State guidelines for "innovative'.

In-reach: Efforts to engage with isolated adults and/ or older adults with serious mental illness at their place of residence (i.e., board and care homes, single room occupancy hotels, etc.) or other natural settings.

Integrated Services: The range of community and supportive services available to a consumer that are coordinated, integrated, reflect common values and focus on the delivery of services.

Internalized Stigma: This refers to the internalization of negative community stereotypes about individuals with SMI and SED, which can lead to lack of hope and low self-esteem.

Involuntary: Actions taken without regard to the willingness, or in opposition to the intentions of the client and/or his parent/guardians.

Isolated Adults & Older Adults with SMI: Adults and older adults with serious mental illness, who are isolated and withdrawn, living with families or in board and care homes or hotels, and their families. These individuals are not actively engaged with family, friends and/or social activities and may or may not be receiving mental health treatment.

Learning Questions: With this third round of INN funding, BHCS formulated learning questions. INN Grantees will develop a project to address the learning question(s). The intent of this process is to address system problems, improve the quality of care to that population and produce more positive client/consumer outcomes. See more on the Key Requirements page.

LGBTQI2S Clients & Consumers: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Two-Spirit (LGBTQI2S) individuals with serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI) and their families.

Longer Term Mental Health Treatment: Longer-term mental health treatment is directed toward individuals and families that require treatment for a longer duration (usually over a year).

Low Income: Refers to individuals, families or areas in Alameda County that fall 200% the federal poverty level. See Background and Information for BHCS Consumers.

Low Intensity Mental Health Treatment: Treatment that is generally less than one year in length and low dosage, such as once per week.

Mental Health Advocacy : Mental Health Advocacy includes activities that help consumers of mental health services and their families to speak up for themselves, know and expect their rights, and regain control over their lives.

MHSA: Mental Health Services Act.

MHSA Stakeholder Group: Stakeholder group that makes recommendation to Alameda County BHCS for MHSA funding.

Non-personnel: The materials, resources, and other costs affiliated with implementing your project. Examples include stipends for participants, photocopies of curricula, administrative overhead, project communications.

Older Adult: Adults 60 and older.

Organization: The awarded grantee or contractor may be an entity that is part of a larger administrative and functional association provided all County requirements are met.

Organizational Policy/Procedure Refers to creating, documenting and training on organizationally agreed upon activities that will improve the functioning of an organization.

Outreach: The acts of extending services or assistance to those in the community who may benefit from care but who have not, or have not been able to, come forth to seek it.

Personnel: Individuals who are paid in implementing the Innovation Grant project, including staff, consultants, and advisers. Only report FTE for staff, for others please put 0 in the FTE field. Stipends for participants are considered Non-Personnel.

PEI: Prevention and Early Intervention. This term often applies to the MHSA PEI funding stream which funds local agencies to conduct specific programs, which focus on the “Prevention and Early Intervention” of the severity and duration of SMI and SED.

Personnel: The body of persons employed by or active in an organization, business, or service.

Pitch: Used interchangeably with Application Shall mean Applicant response to the Innovation Grants Program.

Prevention: Services using interventions that reduce the likelihood of an onset of a severe illness or disorder.

Pro forma: A budget following BHCS' specifications and format

Promising Practice: A service delivery model that shows signs of becoming a best practice, but has not yet been fully evaluated.

Qualified: Competent by training and experience to be in compliance with specified requirements.

Recovery: A process where mental health clients learn how to self-direct their lives and mental health, regain hope and optimism and reclaim positive social experiences beyond the mental health system.

Resiliency: The enduring ability of someone to recover from assaults to their person, whether physical, mental or emotional and, in the midst of that, maintain a sense of spirit and hope.

Serious Mental Illness (SMI) / Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED): Click here to view a pdf of the MHSA definitions of "Serious Emotional Disturbance" and "Serious Mental Illness".

Service Provider: Individuals, groups, and organizations, including County-operated programs that deliver services to clients and patients under an agreement or contract with BHCS.

Social Inclusion: Is defined as ensuring that marginalized individuals and those living with SMI and SED have increased opportunities to participate in decision making that affects their lives to allow them to improve their living standards as well as their overall wellbeing

Social Inclusion: Is defined as ensuring that marginalized individuals and those living with SMI and SED have increased opportunities to participate in decision making that affects their lives to allow them to improve their living standards as well as their overall well being.

Special Populations: Special populations include individuals who have not been adequately served by mental health due to myriad of reasons, including lack of cultural competence. For the purposes of the Innovative Grant Program, this term includes specific populations not defined by age, race/ethnicity, language, geography, ability status, caregiver status or profession. This term includes groups such as veterans; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, two spirit (LGBTQI2S) communities; and individuals experiencing both mental health and co-occurring addiction and/or physical health issues.

Spirituality/Spiritual Community: Is defined as a person’s deepest sense of belonging and connection to a higher power or life philosophy which may not necessarily be related to an organized church or religious institution.

Stakeholder: (a) A person or group of people who impacts or is impacted by mental health services; (b) A person who represents others’ interests relative to mental health services.

State: Refers to State of California, its departments and/or agencies

Strategy Type: An INN project may introduce a novel, creative, and/or ingenious approach to a variety of mental health practices, including those aimed at prevention and early intervention. An INN project is one that contributes to learning, rather than a primary focus on providing a service, in one or more of the following three ways:

  • New: Introduces new mental health practices/approaches including prevention and early intervention that have never been done before, or
  • Adaption: Makes a change to an existing mental health practice/approach, including adaptation for a new setting or community, or
  • Adoption: Introduces a new application to the mental health system of a promising community-driven practice/approach or a practice/approach that has been successful in non-mental health contexts or settings.

System Of Care (SOC): Also referred to as SOC. In a system of care, mental health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and other agencies work together to ensure that children with mental, emotional, and behavioral problems and their families have access to the services and supports they need to succeed.

TA: Technical Assistance, such as consultation and training.

Target Population: Distinguishing characteristics of the population including age group, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geography; and indicate whether the priority population are consumers of mental health services, family members of consumers, a specific type of service provider (whether mental health, primary care, faith-based, etc.), or a member of another group, such as LGBTQI2-S, veterans, individuals with co-occurring disorders.

Threshold Language: Alameda County has four threshold languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Farsi.

Threshold Language Groups: In Alameda County, the most common spoken, or threshold, language groups are Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Farsi speaking populations. This means services and literature should be available in those languages.

Transform: For the purposes of this funding stream: To wholly change the mental health services system in appearance, structure, nature or function.

Transition-Age Youth (TAY): Refers to transition aged youth from ages 16 to under 25. In terms of service delivery, this is the age when young adults begin to age-out of the Children’s System of Care and move into the Adult System of Care.

Treatment: Specified mental health, medical and appropriate ancillary services to be assessed, prescribed, implemented, and monitored for clients by the contractor or BHCS designees.

Unserved or Underserved Populations: Groups that have received no services or are receiving a low rate of services as compared to the estimated prevalence of mental health issues for that population (as defined by the state).

Voluntary: To receive services by request and/or consent. In the case of a minor, refers to the request and/or consent of a parent, guardian, or other responsible agent unless the minor may give consent.

Wellness: The experience of vibrant health across the dimensions of mind, body and spirit.

Youth: An individual age 10-24 years. This term encompasses individuals in adolescence and young adulthood.


  1. Developed by the Consumer Employment Workgroup on July 3, 2008
  2. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Summer 2001. Vol. 25 Number 1. The State of Knowledge of the Effectiveness of Consumer Provided Services, Phyllis Solomon & Jeffrey Draine

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last updated 10/17/2011
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