The Significance of Language around Mental Health

Mental health spelled out in black and white letters against a granite background. Marcel Strauss/Unsplash

The language used to describe psychological and emotional experiences can shape how society views mental health. This blog post shares different ways of thinking and talking about mental health and the real-world impacts that language can bring.

“The language we use to describe our personal life experiences, challenges, and identities can reflect not only our perspective and worldview, but also indicate what change we are hoping for, if any. Some people describe their experiences using diagnostic terminology (such as ‘bipolar’), some prefer ‘consumer’ or ‘service user’, or perhaps ‘disabled’, ‘psychiatric survivor’, ‘mad’, or ‘neurodiverse/divergent’. Despite these differences, people are often grouped together and presumed to be in a wider social change movement with a collective identity.”