Use Positive Words to Describe People with Disabilities Including People with Mental Health Conditions

Every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The words we use and the way we portray people with disabilities, including people with mental health conditions matter. Positive words increase self-esteem and encourage inclusion while negative words could negatively affect inclusion and also lead to psychological problems.

One of the objectives of the HFFG/The PskForum Ghana Somubi Dwumadie project is to increase the use of positive disability and mental health language in Ghana.  This objective is contributing to the overall project goal of reduction in negative and discriminatory attitudes, behaviours and norms faced by people with disabilities in Ghana, including people with mental health conditions

People with disabilities including people with mental health conditions are first and foremost; people, therefore the use of negative language in describing them should be discouraged in our everyday conversations. Let us call people with disabilities including mental health conditions by their names. Let us not use disabilities to describe them or call them.

Choosing to describe someone in terms of just their disorder or condition rather than first recognizing the whole person can be disrespectful and lead to embarrassment and a loss of self-esteem.

Click HERE to learn more appropriate disability language from this Positive Disability Languages Guide developed by HFFG and partners, with funding from UKaid under the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie (Ghana Participation Programme) project.