In the third week of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are invited to focus on how we talk about mental health. Language evolves over time as we learn more about topics like mental health and as we learn the impact language has on overall wellbeing. The words we choose can either strengthen stigma and discrimination or promote acceptance and compassion. The way we talk about mental health matters.
One simple example of changing language to support mental health is to use person-first language. By saying “a person struggling with anorexia” rather than “an anorexic,” their personhood remains centered rather than the condition they are experiencing. To learn more about how changing language promotes better mental health, view the American Hospital Association “People Matter, Words Matter” campaign and SAMHSA’s toolkit “How to Talk About Mental Health.” (Brittany Weiner)