Text equivalent of “Person First Language”

Person first language is a way of speaking that is emphasizes a person’s wholeness, while maintaining respect for an illness, condition, or experience. Person first language helps eliminate stigma, discrimination, and feelings of isolation and fosters better understanding of mental health problems.

  • Instead of, “a schizophrenic,” try, “a person living with schizophrenia.”
  • Instead of, “the homeless,” try, “people experiencing homelessness.”
  • Instead of, “a depressed person,” try, “a person diagnosed with depression.”
  • Instead of, “the poor,” try, “people from income-limited communities.”
  • Instead of, “a diabetic,” try, “a person living with diabetes.”
  • Instead of, “he is bipolar,” try, “he has bipolar disorder.”
  • Instead of, “the mentally ill,” try, “people with mental illnesses.”

Remember: Person first language is encouraged when writing or speaking about a group as an entity. Try to use person first language unless told otherwise by the individual you are speaking to.

[Logo: Mississippi State University Extension. Logo: Mental Health First Aid, USA. Logo: AgriSafe Network, Protecting the people Who Feed the World.]