Understanding what words to use around people with mental health conditions isn’t easy. Here are a few tips

  • Yvonne Manson is a dementia consultant with Balhousie Care Group

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” – so goes the old saying, a child’s mode of defence against bullies in the playground.

But the fact is that words do hurt. Quite apart from obvious insults, language can be a subtle but insidious weapon – especially when it comes to older people.

Related: 19-year-old care worker: I hope perceptions of growing old will change

Related: How to care for a person with dementia

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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