by Comprehensive Staff

Mental Illness: Our Words Make a Difference

04/16/2015 8:07 am

Mental Illness: Our Words Make a Difference

Have you ever heard one of your friends say something like: "The weather is so schizo today; rainy one minute, sunny the next." Or, "Wow, you are so OCD, just pick one."  Or perhaps, "I’m so depressed, I could just shoot myself."

When psychology terms enter into common use, it seems pretty harmless at first.  It is just a quick and easy way, a shortcut, for describing how we are feeling or what is going on with us.  Unfortunately, what can seem simple and harmless at first blush, often is not.  Our words do make a difference.

Biological Factors

I recently watched a short video hosted by Hank Green of SciShow titled, “4 Psychological Terms That You're Using Incorrectly”.    In the video, Green covers four psychological terms that are in common use; terms that most people probably do not know the real meaning of, and are likely using in inappropriate ways. 

But when we allow the use of mental health diagnoses in similar ways, it is belittling and disrespectful to the individuals who struggle with these illnesses on a daily basis, and it minimizes the seriousness of these conditions — furthering the stigma associated with mental illness.

So pay attention to what you say. Your words do make a difference.

To learn more about mental illness and reducing mental health stigma, consider attending one of Comprehensive’s  Mental Health First Aid  trainings.