Talking about variable experiences of mental health rather than diseases and disorders

Prof Peter Kinderman: What we need to do is we need to change the thinking and change the language, think about our mental well-being as part of what it is to be alive, see it as part of our psychological and emotional lives, part of a concept of well-being rather than a separate part of our life predicated by illness. I think we need to describe our psychological issues in everyday but also scientifically valid language. We need to talk about self-harm, we need to talk about relationship difficulties, we need to talk about finding that our self-esteem is very variable and not use pejorative and unpleasant and unscientific labels like ‘borderline personality disorder’.

We need to talk about hearing voices or possibly, if you like, auditory hallucinations. We need to talk about paranoid fears rather than schizophrenia. We need to talk about distress, hopelessness and low mood and tiredness and an inability to feel pleasure rather than ‘major depressive disorder’. And we need to talk about intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours the rather than ‘I have OCD’. We need to talk about the trauma of conflict rather than ‘this is a man with PTSD’. So I think we need to describe people’s problems using the scientific language of psychology and the everyday language of human life rather than medicalised diagnostic terms.

Read on (or listen!) at: Does mental ‘illness’ exist? – All In The Mind – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)