The role of language in mental health
Issue 31 – July 2012Author: Victoria O’Key (c/o firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Language does not simply reflect the way events are, but shapes the way we see and experience them.
- The language we use serves particular functions (e.g. blaming, justifying).
- The terminology used to make sense of emotional distress is very powerful, and greatly influences how service users see themselves.
- Some ways of talking about distress are more stigmatising than others. For instance, labelling someone’s personality as ‘disordered’ is likely to be shaming.