Experts call for people to stop using derogatory mental health terms

See Change says words such as 'psycho' and 'schizo' are the 'building blocks of stigma'

Experts call for people to stop using derogatory mental health terms

Picture by: john rowley/DPA/PA Images

People are being encouraged to stop using derogatory mental health terms like ‘psycho’ and ‘nutter’.

Experts say they are increasing stigma around the issue and may lead to someone concealing a mental health problem.

It comes as a Red C poll, commissioned by See Change, found that one in ten adults surveyed use derogatory words like 'psycho' and 'schizo' when discussing mental health.

Professor Graham Thornicroft says such language can stop people coming forward to get help.

He observed: "Those sort of stereotypes really aren't helpful at all.

"What more often happens is people suffer in silence, stay at home, don't talk about it, and feel ashamed... sometimes even blame themselves.

"These are illnesses like anything else - it's like having diabetes, it's like breaking your leg... you need treatment, you need to go and get help."

He added: "What invariably people say when they've been able to talk is that a great weight has been lifted from their shoulders."

See Change Director John Saunders noted: "Although some derogatory words may seem trivial and innocent, they are the building blocks of stigma that may lead someone to conceal a mental health difficulty."

Meanwhile, the Red C poll also found that almost all respondents linked words such as ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ with mental health difficulties.

However, there was a 'significant drop off' in links when it came to words such as ‘bipolar disorder’ and ‘personality disorders’.

The results show that less than one in three adults linked ‘eating disorders’ with mental health difficulties.