I’ve created a term and it’s possible I’m the first person to use it. My aim is to have the term take over in dialogue about what has historically been called mental illness.
I want to use this new term first of all because a lot of people without a clinical diagnosis have ill thinking or are in mental distress or emotional pain.
We need to expand the market in this way to capture all human beings who can benefit from the beauty of an ethic like Left of the Dial or from simply more human treatment.
This is a radical idea: having compassion for EVERYONE. What if compassion were as entrenched in a person’s mind as racism has been over the years?
Starting today I propose we use the term MH challenge instead of mental illness.
Though I can’t take the original credit for this. I have a great friend and we go everywhere together: to concerts, to poetry readings, to coffee shops. Whenever I’m with him and he’s taking about these kinds of things he says “An MH friend of mine” or “Our MH is there in a residual way.”
I love my friend and all that so I think it’s brilliant that he used the term MH.
Most of all this is because focusing on illness was always anathema to me. When told I would be sent to the International Center for the Disabled in 1990 for training I bristled because I didn’t think I was disabled.
MH is an elegant, kinder, and truer term because it instills hope.
It might sound like whitewashing the truth that today a significant number of people still go untreated or have a severe form of a mental illness. Yet can’t we approach their lives with a dignified way of using language too?
In 2017 I’ll celebrate having been a mental health activist for 15 years. That’s a long time. Too long to continue to focus on illness, to dwell in the past, to fight about whether or not a person should take medication.
My pioneering use of the term MH challenge is destined to be a game changer.
Using the term MH challenge is what the world and everyone living in recovery needs now: hope for healing whatever is ill in our lives.