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Would you like to be described as ‘mental’?

Guest author: Elma Chapman

Having experienced 13 episodes of detainment in hospital, I cannot ignore that ‘Mental’ Health is an important part of my Life Journey, but it does not identify who I am.

It made me reflect on the label of my experience and the stigma and perception it carries. So I looked up the word Mental’, which I do not like and it means ‘Crazy’, so I have ‘Crazy Health Issues’!

How can we ever gain respect and admiration for the tough journey we push ourselves through and break down the barriers of perception, fear and stigma, that sperate us from the human society of ‘normal’ judgemental people with a label that means ‘Crazy’? Plus we are labelled by a dysfunctional system that labels all conditions from Anxiety to Lunacy with one all-encompassing label – Mental/Crazy!

I would love to find a kind, good word that describes us as a human being with challenges to our inner health systems and emotional wellbeing. A word that describes what is happening in a caring way that is not frightening for other people. A word that recognises the fragility and vulnerability of people with various conditions, who truly need to be recognised, accepted as they are with love and support and understanding – not perceived as a part of society to be pitied, feared and excluded in a quiet manner, due to a label ‘Mental’, which is a barrier before considering what that person has lived through.

So if anyone can consider a new way of describing our conditions, that reflects the courage and determination that we possess in our recovery journey, then please do so and let us change our perception.

Elma is a participant on a Good Vibrations project

The views above are the individuals’, not Good Vibrations’. However, we as a charity are committed to supporting a diverse range of voices to be heard, and openness, critical reflection, and respecting and valuing all are core values that permeate our work.