Saturday, August 15, 2009

Labelling FAIL

I have discovered recently that we are not supposed to refer to the mentally ill as, well, mentally ill. There is -- and I can see the point -- a stigma attached to being "mentally ill".

The accepted "alternative label" is: "consumer".

*blink, blink*

If I'm taking someone who's a tetch throwed-off to the Crisis Unit, or the State Home For the Half-A-Bubble-Off-Plumb, and I hear that they are a "consumer" -- well, the first thing that crosses my little mind is a quote involving fava beans and a nice chianti.

Hmm. Oh, well, probably just me.

LawDog

20 comments:

jimbob86 said...

Consumer of WHAT, exactly?

Tim Covington said...

That is one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard. It reminds me of George Carlin's bit on euphemisms. Here's a link to it:
http://www.iceboxman.com/carlin/pael.php#track15

KBCraig said...

In some states' prison systems, the word "inmate" has been banned. Instead, they must be referred to as "offender".

Tony said...

The place I used to work at provided services to people with disabilities. At some point the word came down that those who we served were not clients, they were consumers. Like you, I was somewhat perplexed. Firstly, we were connecting them with services to help them live independently. Consuming something would seem to imply that some sort of good was being...consume.

It's strange how terms change. I'm all for not being offensive, but this one is just strange.

the pistolero said...

I must admit I was thinking something entirely different. As in, how far is it from "consumer" to "untermenschen"?

ArkieRN said...

Huh? The logic for this change (if there is any) totally escapes me. Whoever came up with it must have been a consumer.

Captcha: doddlesu - if you think about this too long it doddles-u.

TOTWTYTR said...

Homeless shelters no longer refer to their clientele as "homeless". They are "guests". Goodness help you if you call them a "bum".

Similarly, the physically handicapped are to be referred to as "differently abled", not handicapped, let alone disabled.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh-kaaayyyy. This is going to put a whole different meaning to the news stories about the "consumer price index" {they're for sale?}, "consumer credit," and "consumer confidence," among others.
LittleRed1

Anonymous said...

@TOTWTYTR: Good point, but there is a legitimate niche for "differently abled" as opposed to disabled, like the quintessential Asperger "geeky Poindexter" who has great technical skill but sucks in the "people-people crap" department.
--the Northwestern Diamondback

Jo said...

I snorted coffee over "Half-A-Bubble-Off-Plumb..."

Ted said...

The whole relabelling thing bugs me. Of course there's a negative stigma attached to words we use to describe less-than-desirable conditions. Changing the word just leads to new words with negative stigmata, and confusion down the line when some researcher tries to figure out who had what condition.

My personal pet peeve is the movement in the health-care industry to refer to patients as "customers". A patient is someone whose best interests I swore to promote. A customer is someone to get money out of.

Mad Jack said...

Right. And I'm not out of work, I'm unencumbered by the constraints of regular employment.

Main Lady is a certified head shrinker and brought the new terminology home with her a while ago. Consumers of what, I asked.

"They're consumers of mental health services." Main Lady replied sweetly. "Moreover, it isn't nice to refer to them as 'they'".

"So what do you call them?" I bit, not thinking (as usual).

"Consumers."

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer money, jimbob86.
And patients aren't patients, but 'clients.' And 'Remedial' anything in the schools must be referred do as 'Correlative.'
Etc., etc., etc.
A rose by any other name....
LawMom

TBeck said...

So "bughouse nuts" and comparisons to restroom-dwelling rodents are right out, I suppose.

jimbob86 said...

Lawmom- upon reflection:

Consumers of various and sundry medications, all paid for by taxpayer monies.....

I propose we call such persons not consumers, but conduits..... for their ability to efficiently transfer our money to Pfizer/Merck/etc.....

Da Curly Wolf said...

I really think the people who come up with these label changes are totally fracking fruit loops.
Definition of Political Correctness: changing the way something is worded to make it sound more palatable. 2. blowing smoke up my a**.

Both of which annoy the hell out of me. because a stinking pile of crap by any other name is STILL a stinking pile of crap.

Montie said...

I spent two weeks last year in a class to enable police officers to be classified as "mental health response officers". For my trouble I got a nifty certificate and a pin for my uniform designating me as an "MHRO". That means when another (non-MHRO) officer is haaving a little trouble communicating with a contact who seems to be a little bit "off-kilter", he/she can call one of us to come and apply our new "skilz" at dealing with the "consumer" as it were.

Oh, and TOTWTYTR is right. I run a security company as a side job and have a contract with a local shelter. the former "clients" are now "guests". Since this state has seen fit to do away with most mental health services and turn 'em out on the streets, those "MHRO skilz" come in handy around there too.

Brian Dale said...

They--whoops, Administrators (now that the word "they" is fraught with the risk of opprobrium)--seem to change the buzz words every ten to twenty years.

We can now tell what it is that schools actually teach to Social {pseudo}Sciences majors (and I've wondered): what's taught is how to get away with it.

What will we be calling "patient care providers" and "administrators?"

~Customer Service Representatives and Store Managers?

~"Scrum halves" and "Coaches?"

~"Cabbages" and "Kings"...whoops, I mean to write "Sovereigns?"

I don't yet have the memo on the new correct names for ethnic groups; is it out already? Will I get into trouble if I get caught considering people all to be "humans?"

staghounds said...

Go to a high school and look at the index board- no "Special Education" office or staff.

It's "Exceptional" now. I kid you not, it's been for the past like two years.

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