Mental health terms need more awareness, warns Bupa

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Medical conditions are being used inappropriately in the workplace and at home Bupa has warned, despite the UK taking strides to combat this.

The healthcare provider has found that 49 per cent of adults are using words such as schizophrenic and autistic to describe themselves incorrectly.

The research raises concerns around mental health terms being trivialised, which could impact employees’ seeking mental health support in the workplace.

While 53 per cent agree that awareness of mental health conditions has improved over the last five years, Bupa believes there needs to be a greater understanding of the language used.

“We’ve seen a positive shift in recent years where more employees feel comfortable talking about their mental health. But this doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels; we need to be cautious about the way we use mental health language, both at home and in the workplace, and make sure it’s used appropriately,” said Pablo Vandenabeele, clinical director for mental health at Bupa UK.

“If terms are being used incorrectly, it could potentially have negative consequences for sufferers. For example, it could make it more difficult for someone to speak to his or her manager; potentially delaying the time it takes for them to seek medical help.”

Bupa argues that using mental health terms in everyday language can underplay the true meaning of the words, making it difficult for people to receive the support they need.

Schizophrenic and psychotic were both seen as the most offensive (26%) terms when used incorrectly.

Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, added: “We can never underestimate the subtle but integral role language has to play in creating the cultures and communities in which we live and work, be that diversity, gender, or mental health.

“We’re proud to support Bupa in highlighting this important issue and calling on people to reflect on the language they use when discussing mental health and wellbeing.”

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    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke