Choose Your Language Carefully

Addressing mental health issues starts with the words we speak. Recently, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, reported over 250 words used by young people to stigmatise mental health.

For example, its unhelpful to use the words:

  • Bipolar- to mean that someone changes their mind frequently. Bipolar is a complex condition- more info here
  • Depressed- to mean a moment of sadness or unhappiness. Depression is more than that- more info here
  • OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not simply excessive cleanliness or tidiness. It has many more aspects – more info here.

However, there’s a cultural shift happening- less and less people have negative associations of mental illnesses and more and more people feel able to talk about mental health. In the UK, thanks to campaigns such as Time To Change, 4.1m people are more accepting and positive about mental health issues. Those with mental health conditions reported a significant drop in discrimination (from 41.6% to 28.4%), especially in family and friends.

Across the UK, 4.1m people are more accepting and positive about mental health issues
Source: Time To Change (2018)

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