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In an email to colleagues, I once referred to “mental health patients.” A thoughtful recepient of that email, wrote to me saying:
“You refer to ‘mental health patients.’ Isn’t that an oxymoron? Shouldn’t it be ‘mentally ill patients?’ If they are healthy, why are they patients?”
1. “Psychiatric patients”?
The colleague who wrote to me suggested that an alternative might be “psychiatric patients.” But, “psychiatric” seems narrow given that many clinicians other than psychiatrists treat these patients.
2. “Mentally ill”?
I think the term has negative associations. .
This term is favored by many non-medical mental health clinicians. But, the term seems to imply that the relationship is “only” commercial. That the person has “hired” the clinician to provide treatment. This is usually true, but there is more to the relationship than that.
4. “Persons with mental disorders”?
I’m thinking that this may be a compassionate thing to call our patients.
What do you think? Please post your comments under “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page.
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