Mental health issues and substance use disorder are medical issues. But too often, they are thought about and discussed negatively as reflections of poor character. This creates stigma that makes it more difficult for people in crisis to seek effective help. Green Peak Alliance encourages people to discuss these illnesses in a way that recognizes them as the medical conditions that they are, not as evidence of disgrace.
Changing how we talk about mental health and substance use can make it safer for people to get the help they need. To encourage more constructive dialogue, Green Peak Alliance is sharing a lexicon of terms which reinforce the idea that illness is something people have, not who people are.
Materials for our anti-stigma project center on our list “What to Say to Avoid Stigma,” featuring more than a dozen examples of phrases and terms with constructive alternatives. Campaign elements include a two-sided card for placement in brochure racks, a poster, and social media posts which feature a short video containing examples of non-stigmatizing terms.