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What Is Person-First Language?

woman practices first-person language

Stigma is everywhere when it comes to addiction and mental health. There are people out there who dedicate their life to negativity. Unfortunately, stigma often stops people from getting the help they need in order to recover. This is why Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to talk to you about person-first language. Continue reading to learn more about person-first language and why it is important.   

What Is Person-First Language?

When you are using person-first language, you are structuring your choice of words to put the person before the illness or disease. This puts the illness or disease second. For example, instead of saying “the addicted person,” person-first language is saying “the person with the addiction.”  

Why Is Person-First Language Important?

Person-first language is important because we want to start putting people before their illness or disease. They are not their illness or disease, they are a person just like you and me. If you put the illness or disease first, you are saying that illness or disease is what defines the person. This is the opposite of what we want for you.    How we say something is just as important as the choice of words we use. Our words have the power to spread a positive message or a negative message. We no longer say certain words or phrases because they are insensitive and hurtful. Listen to those with addictions and mental illnesses when they say they would rather you use person-first language. It’s important to know that people are listening and not just hearing what we are saying. To show you are listening, let’s start by removing the words “addict” and “alcoholic” from our vocabulary. Replace those words with person-first language.   

Is Person-First Language Limited to Addictions and Mental Illnesses?

No, it’s a great idea to get into the habit of using person-first language when talking about everything. Let’s stop referring to people as “the cancer patient” or “the blind man” and start saying “the woman with cancer” and “the person who is blind.” Those who are struggling with an illness or disease are more than their diagnosis.   

Arbor Behavioral Health wants to be a part of the movement to use person-first language. Call us today for more information about how you can be more inclusive and help those you love struggling with an addiction or mental illness. We can help. Call now at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to hear from you!