Thursday, 12 October 2017 06:28

Reduce stigma by changing language

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Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada, Oct. 1-7. This is one of the many times now when we focus on mental illness. We often talk now about mental health and mental illness.
We talk about stigma when it comes to mental illness.
I think the first step to reducing stigma is our language.
We need to take the “mental” out of mental health. Think of it as an illness like any other. And do what the health system has been trying to do for a very long time and use a patient-first strategy.
That’s right, treat us as people first.
I am tired of people talking about individuals with major mental illnesses as their symptoms. They are people first.
I don’t see much difference between a major physical illness and a major mental illness; they both need lifelong care if they have a chronic illness. Both can be managed with medication and some sort of support services. Of course that is just being logical.
Diane MacNaughton, Medicine Hat

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