The dignity of the individual is paramount in our belief that we are all created in the
image and likeness of God. Our language and our actions should reflect that belief.
When talking about mental illness, we should use “people first language.” We refer
to people as the person they are – not the disease they have. So we say “a person
who has a mental illness” or “a man or woman with a mental illness.” We avoid
referring to people using terms like “the mentally ill” or “the depressed,” or even
worse terms. We all want to be known for the person we are not the illness we
have. We are more than the illness we have! As people of compassion and justice
we should never use stigmatizing language or demeaning terms when referring to
people with an illness.
Careful use of language is a way of communicating that people with mental illness,
as Pope John Paul II said, “have the inalienable right not only to be considered as
an image of God and therefore as a person, but also to be treated as such.”
Join us for our 5 part Archdiocesan Series on
Mental Health beginning:
Monday, September 9th
7 – 8:30pm
St. Edna’s Community Room
Questions?: Deacon Jim Bannon
We make the dignity of the individual real by following the example Jesus gave us. Jesus calls us to seek out and
include people in our faith community who are suffering and isolated. Jesus gave us many examples, like the story of
the Good Samaritan who helped someone when no one else would, and the story of the father of the prodigal son that
teaches us about unconditional love. It is when we love in these ways that we experience the love that God has for us.