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Old 11-18-17, 11:51 PM
peripatetic peripatetic is offline
 
 

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person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

to keep this thread as general as possible, though if you want to cite your diagnosis and why you feel one way or another, please feel free to do so...

Q: would YOU self identify as a "person with mental illness" or as a "mentally ill person"

the former is called person-first or people-first language and here's a general wikipedia link on it

the latter is called identity-first language and here's a discussion in favor of identity first language.

person/people-first language
, roughly, is thought to be preferable by some disability advocates because it separates the person from the disability and puts the person as person "first". and that self-identifying using identity-first language is self stigmatizing/reducing self to only disability/difference.

identity-first language, roughly, is thought to be preferable by some advocates/groups because "person" is implied as first and the adjective preceding person doesn't detract from that, and disability is NOT separable from person, AND that it further stigmatizes disability/difference by saying person with.

i definitely have an opinion on this and i'll share it in the next post, but i'm interested in others' ideas and rationales for said ideas as well.

what're your thoughts on this? how do you self identify? do you self identify differently for different diagnoses? do you think one or the other contributes (more/less) to mental health stigma?
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Old 11-18-17, 11:53 PM
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Re: person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

my perspective:

i recently was told that my self description in identity-first language is "self stigmatizing" by a mental health worker (one who does not share my diagnosis, which, yes, i asked).

i disagree. i am not just a mentally ill person, i'm many things, but ONE of them is that i AM a mentally ill person and i think those uncomfortable with that (or with my using my diagnostic adjective more expressly)....THEY are the ones uncomfortable with my diagnosis and being mentally ill. it is THEY who need to see me as a person and somehow if i'm not a person with ____ or a person with mental illness they'll forget i'm a person with many attributes that are inseparable from who i am. i'm an engendered person, not a person with a gender. i'm a tall person. not a person with tallness. and i'm a mentally ill person, a specific type of one, in fact.

BUT, most of all i think that people should be respected as deciding for themselves how to identify and if person X wants to be identified using person-first language, i'm happy to oblige. but *I* want to be identified using identity-first language and i want that equally respected.
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Old 11-19-17, 06:08 AM
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Re: person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

I always say " I have a mental illness."
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Old 11-19-17, 06:22 AM
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Re: person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

I call myself "a person with mental health issues".

In comparison to some others on the forum, my mental health issues are not too bad.

My diagnoses are obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and paranoia.
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Old 11-19-17, 07:01 AM
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Re: person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

I don't think there is a right or wrong way. I think the most important is that people can use whatever they want without anyone else making a fuss about it or telling them how they have to describe themselves. To be honest I couldn't even tell you what I use because I don't use any of them consciously. I probably use both. It's not important to me.

However what is important is that you respect whatever somebody else chooses to use for themselves and I don't think other people should interpret or analyse it for them eg i don't think it's helpful to say

' you are exclusively identifying with your illness and can't see anything else because of the way you describe yourself. If you use a different description you'll feel better about yourself'.
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Old 11-19-17, 10:11 PM
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Re: person-first vs identity-first language and mental health stigma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 View Post
However what is important is that you respect whatever somebody else chooses to use for themselves and I don't think other people should interpret or analyse it for them eg i don't think it's helpful to say

' you are exclusively identifying with your illness and can't see anything else because of the way you describe yourself. If you use a different description you'll feel better about yourself'.
i wholeheartedly agree.
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