Visions—The Language We Use to Talk About Mental Health and Substance Use

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.

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