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What terms do people use to describe themselves and their experience?

Language and how people are labelled is an important social justice issue, given the widespread stigma and discrimination associated with psycho-social distress. The terms used in the area of mental health to refer to both the human distress, and the individuals treated by mental health services, are contested and political.

A wide variety of words and terms, each with a political history, social connotations, and contestations, are used to describe people who have experience of mental distress or the mental health system. Differences in the meanings of these terms and how they are used varies between communities, groups, and geographical regions.

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As researchers we all have experience of mental distress and/or mental health services.

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