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Examples of replacing ‘illness first’ language with ‘people first’ language

Replace this:


With this:

‘Being bipolar doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get the job you want …’

‘Yes, he is undoubtedly depressed. I am recommending a combination of medication and some CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy] sessions.’

‘Well, she is highly suicidal and I will be arranging a referral to a psychiatrist.’


‘Jane, living with bipolar disorder shouldn’t stop you from getting the job you want ...‘

‘Yes, David is undoubtedly experiencing depression. I have discussed with him trying some CBT sessions in combination with trialling some medication.’

‘It must feel so scary for Nicole, and for you and your husband, when she has thoughts about taking her own life. I’d like to discuss some options with you that might help you and Nicole feel more supported and less isolated.’


Suicide prevention and first aid a resource for GPs