Have questions on Mental Health? You can ask them in this forum, share personal experiences, or suggest how to help people living with mental health conditions to navigate their way to recovery.
I want to help my loved one on their journey to recovery. What are some words or phrases that are unconsciously stigmatizing, and that I should avoid?
@thetapestryproject-sg I love this. Re-framing seems like a great way not only to help others but ourselves as well. I will try this! Thank you!
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We're glad you asked! Words communicate our attitudes and beliefs, and it takes self-awareness to realise why we use the words we use. Perhaps for a start, we should use words that are person-centric and recovery-oriented. This is also known as "Recovery Language". This sort of language applies to ourselves too. So for example, instead of saying "I am a schizophrenic!" we could say, "I have schizophrenia." Or, "I'm a failure" we could reframe it as "I've not reached my goal yet, but I'll keep trying." The key principle is to separate the person from the problem, and this allows us to respond to the person with empathy.
@mysticempressa Thank you for your reply. I especially find your suggestion of mentioning the strengths of my loved one as a practical and useful way to help.
From my lived experience with a mental health condition, I would say some words are more disempowering like calling your loved one a “patient”, “schizophrenic” or whatever other condition they have as their label. They have a condition, but it doesn’t define them. Perhaps acknowledging their strengths as a person would also make a difference in supporting their recovery. I know it did for me.