Why We Need to Stop Using Mental Health Labels So Casually
Diagnoses are commonly used as terms of abuse
People often borrow terminology from the language of mental health to describe everyday behavior. A neat and tidy person declares "I'm so OCD!" (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder). Someone who is worried or self-conscious is called "paranoid." A person who changes their mind a lot is branded "schizophrenic." The general public often uses these terms loosely, although the mental health community is specific about how they define these conditions.
This kind of language is common, and while no harm is usually meant, it can be considered to be ableist.
Ableism is prejudice against people because of their different physical, intellectual, or psychological status. Ableist language includes words and phrases that are intentionally or inadvertently derogatory toward a person with a disability, disease or mental illness. It is considered to be a form of language that excludes people with disabilities and casts them as inferior, irrelevant or invisible.
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