The language used in society about mental illness, increases mental health stigma.
People are not bipolar, they have bipolar.
People are not schizophrenic, they have schizophrenia.
People are not EMO, they have self harm behaviours.
People are not OCD, they have OCD.
People are not PTSD, they have PTSD.
I see language used continually, that further stigmatises mental health illness as something ‘bad’ and to be feared and something different to physical illness.
And it adds to the ignorance and wrong opinions so many have.
I’ve come to realise the important of using appropriate language and how this is vital to educating people and education is the only way to change anything for the better.
I also realise how easy it is to use wrong language. I did this myself in counselling this week…….. after tweeting about appropriate language. That is how easily done it is to say e.g “the bipolar woman” – instead of saying “the woman with bipolar”. I noted I did this, and corrected myself immediately. With my counsellor nodding along, as she does when I am on the right track.
It takes time to change the habits of how we speak, the words we use, the language we use. And that’s okay, we are human.
But, having a dedication to changing one’s own language and educating others and encouraging people to do the same, is the way forward.