Language Matters - Mental Health Self-Awareness Raising awareness of mental health is important, but it often starts with ourselves. You may be posting and sharing lots of helpful information, but have you checked in with yourself to see if you are applying these messages into the language you use? Harmful language is something we too often turn a blind-eye to; it can be passed off as "not being meant seriously", or "just the way things are". But what people don't realise is, these harmful words and misuse of terms can really exacerbate stigma. They slowly and subtly build up a layer of tolerance, which can then lead to misconceptions and negative attitudes towards people with mental illnesses. A flippant remark to someone that you think is harmless, may actually be the thing that stops them seeking the help they need. That's why we're asking everyone to make an active effort to continue educating themselves on mental health and illnesses, and to be mindful of the language they use - words are powerful. The impact of stigmatising language A person with mental health issues: May be reluctant or postpone asking for help because of the stigma that surrounds mental health Feel extra distress and isolation from stigmatising language - they already felt bad, and this has made them feel worse Will find it harder to open up a conversation and talk about mental health issues People can internalise the stigma, so that they begin to believe what others say about them, creating a vicious cycle detrimental to recovery By swapping out words for better ones, we can make a huge difference, with minimal effort. Be mindful. Be kind. Break stigma.