Why I Don’t Say “Mental Health”

Adelina R asks: Why don’t you like to say “mental health?”

Here’s my answer:

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10 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Say “Mental Health”

  1. Julie Greene says:

    Yeah, me too. I no longer use the term, though years ago, I did.

    For clarity, I am titling my upcoming book Myths of the Mental Health System but within the book I state that Mental Health is a misnomer. The reason I used this title is for clarity. (These things are important for searches only, should I decide to publish the book.)

    In other venues, I might say “mental effort” to describe the work that goes into a tough game of chess. I say “the Mental System,” leaving out the word “health” since to me, to associate what goes on in our minds or in our lives to the medical realm is quite limiting. Our thoughts, dreams, beliefs, feelings, are these ONLY medical, only for a doctor to understand?

    Or are these innermost sentiments for our teachers, our parents, our loved ones, our children, those we have dinner with, those we cherish, and those we meet with to pray and mourn and celebrate holidays?

    Mostly, what is inside is understood by the one who creates the thoughts and feelings in there, the self.

    Didn’t Socrates say, “Know thyself”? It is said to be a mark of wisdom. Or was.


  2. Sam says:

    This is interesting to me. and a very different experience. I have a undergrad counseling degree and also personal experience with mental illness. I can see what you’re saying. I guess it’s hard to find another term to describe what is going on. People are so used to that term but you’re right there are so many social aspects to situations and issues.

    • Chaya says:

      Thanks Sam! When you say you have personal experience with mental illness what do you mean exactly? The term is so vague to me, I simply have no idea what you’re talking about at all.

      Besides all sociopolitical reasons why this term reinforces the phenomenon of the identified patient, the main reason I avoid it is because I don’t think it gives us any information besides perhaps that a person has suffered. And it’s been said “life is suffering”, so does mental illness/health tell us anything at all?

      I’d so much rather hear someone’s actual story of what happened…otherwise it’s jargon and I have no idea what they are referring to.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

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