Peer support, as we have been discussing for some time now, is an extremely beneficial support system for people that are recovering from traumatic physical and emotional experiences. While peer support is a beneficial strategy to helping people cope with the trauma or hardship that they have experienced, it can often be derailed by non-inclusive language that is not consistent with mental health language. Today, your peer support specialists, Peer Support Central will be discussing some of the disconnects in regular language and mental health language that can prove to be more damaging than helpful.

At Peer Support Central we offer training courses ranging from leadership training to peer support specialist training to critical incident and stress management training, so we understand the setbacks that something as simple as speech can cause.  Below, we have gathered a lost of some, but not all, of the more commonly misused words in the mental health world.

“In Recovery”

For people who have never had a traumatic experience and find themselves “on the outside looking in” to someone who has they might describe the person as “in recovery” from their traumatic experience. For those who have experienced trauma themselves, and the mental health workers that assist them, this “recovery” process is referred to as “chronic”. The word “chronic” is used instead of the word “recovery” because there is no guarantee that the patient will ever make a full recovery.

“Having A Good/Bad Day”

For someone who is not currently experiencing mental health issues as a result of a traumatic experience, it might be easy to resort to thinking that people with mental issues have good days and bad days when in reality the person has high-functioning or low-functioning days. The mental health community more closely recognizes using the word “functioning” versus good or bad because it addresses and highlights the issue, being their mental health, rather than addressing the result of their issue, being a good or bad day.


When people that are not familiar with the field of mental health they might say something like “Jason has been off ever since he came back from the war. It must have been the war that messed him up and gave him all these negative experiences.” While it is not wrong to use the word “experience” in that context, the mental health community would be more likely to call the experiences of the affected person as a result of trauma a symptom.

Learn More With Peer Support Central

At Peer Support Central we don’t teach leadership and development courses and peer support specialist courses for the fun of it. We do it because there are people out there that need support, often struggling to find it. If you are interested in becoming one of the many great peer support specialists that help others in need on a daily basis we urge you to check out our course schedule online and register for a course.

Contact us today if you have any questions about becoming a peer support specialist. We look forward to hearing from you.

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