Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Words We Use

Client? Patient? Consumer? Which one is right? We often debate this question among ourselves here at BCI, and there remains no clear consensus about how to refer to the people we serve. So I was intrigued to see that SAMHSA is asking the same question in What's in a Term? Considering Language in Our Field.

And, they want to hear what we think. SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde says:
Let’s have a discussion about the terms we use. Let’s try to agree on terms we could use and terms we should absolutely not use.

Your comments and suggestions are critical as we move this conversation forward. In addition, how can we engage others about this without being disrespectful or making assumptions about bad intentions?

Send comments to We will provide some feedback about what you think in a future edition of SAMHSA News. By communicating well together and with others, we will understand together “what’s in a term.”
There is so much terminology to consider:
Mental health or mental illness?
Behavioral health?

What terms do you prefer?

(Thanks to Faces and Voices of Recovery for the tip.)

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