When talking about mental health, word choice matters: terms like ‘mental illness’ can strengthen stigma and make people think there is ‘something wrong with me.’
I was at a benefits fair this past week and got to speaking with one of the other ladies about the problem of there not being enough mental health prescribers.
I shared with her that I was a person living well today with a mental health condition because…I had access to a prescriber.
We got to talking about language because she noticed I had said “mental health condition”. I am pretty specific in the words I use.
She asked me why I didn’t say “mental illness” and I told her I don’t choose to use the words “mental illness” for the simple fact I don’t use the words “physical illness”.
Instead, I say I have high blood pressure or I have migraines.
For me, I think those two words: “mental illness” have too much negative connotation and in some ways even strengthen the stigma around mental health.
As I’m writing this, I suddenly had a thought come to mind: the words “mental illness” and “mentally ill” have an underlying current that “something is wrong with me.”
I also believe it’s extremely important to keep my focus on WELLNESS rather than illness.
Language can be very powerful!
I know I’m not alone in my choice of words. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) uses the words “mental health condition” as well.
Now, I am certainly not writing this post to say that everyone has to do it my way!
No, I am writing about this today because I want to get you thinking about language and the impact it has in our lives!!!
I would love to hear what your thoughts are…
Leave them in the comment box below!
~ To Living Well TODAY! ~
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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