PDF | EPUB | Vol. 14, No. 1 (2018)
Words matter. They impact the assumptions we make about others, the way we understand someone else’s experiences, and the value we place on others. When it comes to mental health and substance use, there are many different kinds of words. We can easily think of words used to stereotype, label, or hurt people. Mental health as a system and mental health professionals in that system also use their own language. Words can be a way to emphasize power or prevent people from taking charge of their rights or their recovery. Labels like the name of a diagnosis can be confusing and hold stigma. While it’s easy to focus on the ways that words can harm, the right words can heal. Helpful language makes people feel heard, included, and supported. The right language helps us communicate clearly, respectfully, and with hope. In this issue of Visions, you’ll see the power of the right words.
Minding Our Language: How word choice shapes rights, responsibilities and power in mental health law and care
(Iva W. Cheung)
Why is the Language of Addiction So Tricky?
(Gaëlle Nicolussi Rossi and Dan Reist)
Experiences and Perspectives
With the New Cannabis Laws, Is Everyone Now an “Addict”?
I’m Sorry, But What Did You Just Say? Two statements that probably shouldn’t be made
The Weight of Words: How my life was measured by language
Words That Heal and Harm: Making wise choices when we talk about mental health
Bad Personality? Poor Character? Coming to terms with borderline personality disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: My greatest super power
Alternatives and Approaches
Paying Attention to the Language We Use: A mother’s perspective
Language and Access to Mental Health Support: Challenging thoughts from a psychiatrist
Junkie, Addict or Person with a Substance Use Disorder? Language in journalism
Media Coverage of Mental Illness
What’s in a name change— a temporary relief from stigma?