Words Are Very Powerful
When we say someone is “crazy” or “that’s totally mental” we’re perpetuating stereotypes.
Eliminate the phrase “suffers from mental illness”. Instead, choose, “lives with mental illness” or “is affected by mental illness”.
When we say a person is “schizophrenic,” we make their mental illness fully define their complete identity. Instead, be clear that this is a disease that individuals manage and live with, e.g. “he is living with schizophrenia”.
There are many phrases and terms; “crazy,” “nuts”, “psycho”, “schiz”, “retard” and “lunatic” that may seem insignificant, but really aren’t.
While there may be times when it is too challenging or simply not possible to politely correct someone else’s insensitive use of language, you can always watch your own.
We’re a non-profit organization working to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Start the conversation. End the stigma. Visit our website to learn more.