We create consistency across the site by always writing the following words, names and terms in the same way. Using these naming conventions also makes sure our content is easy-to-read, respectful and inclusive.

We use positive language when talking about disabilities and health conditions and champion the social model of disability.

We do not say:

  • afflicted by
  • suffering from
  • sufferer 
  • victim of 

MindWell glossary

✔ Alzheimer’s disease
X Alzheimer’s Disease
✔ antenatal
X ante-natal
✔ blind people
✔people with sight loss
✔people with visual impairments 
✔blind and partially sighted people
X ‘the blind’
✔ call 
✔ phone
X ring
X dial
✔ carers are people such as family, friends or neighbours who look after someone they know (the term care workers should be used for people who
are paid to look after someone as part of their job)
✔ family carers
X Carers (do not use a capital c for carers)
✔ coronavirus: coronavirus (COVID-19) when used for first time
X Coronavirus
✔ dementia
✔ people with dementia or living with dementia
X senile dementia
X a ‘dementia sufferer’ or ‘victims of dementia’
✔ deaf people 
✔ Deaf people (people who communicate in
British Sign Language as their first language)
✔ hearing loss
✔ deafness (prefer hearing loss)
✔ person with a hearing impairment
X ‘the deaf’
✔ people with diabetes
X diabetic person
diedX passed away
X deceased
✔ disabled people
✔people living with a disability
✔wheelchair user
X (the) disabled
X confined to a wheelchair
X (the) handicapped
X wheelchair-bound
✔ women, children or men experiencing domestic violence  ✔survivors of domestic violence
X ‘victims of domestic violence’
✔ drug use
X drug abuse or misuse
X e-mail
✔ firefighter
X fireman
✔ gay people (the word ‘gay’ should only be used as an adjective)
✔ gay (adjective)
✔ gay men/man
✔ lesbian
✔ bisexual 
✔ men who have sex with men
✔ LGBT (the meaning is well known enough to use without explaining each time)
X ‘gays and lesbians’
✔ gender reassignment
X ‘sex change’
✔ GPs
✔ A GP, The GP (not all users will have a regular GP
and use of ‘A’ emphasises that they should get help
no matter which GP they see)
X doctors or GP’s
X your GP (unless word ‘your’ is needed to suggest user’s own GP surgery)
✔ GP surgeryX GP practice (unless writing for healthcare staff)
✔ healthcareX Healthcare
X health care
✔ people who are homelessX the homeless
X homeless people
✔ learning disabilities and people with
learning disabilities
X Learning Disabilities, PLD or LD
X mentally handicapped
✔ mental health
X Mental Health
✔ ‘people with, experiencing, struggling or living with mental health :
X ‘victims of’, ‘suffering from’ or ‘afflicted by’ mental health problems
X mentally ill
X disease
X mental health disorder
✔ mental ill healthX mental illness
X mentally ill
✔ nhs.uk
✔ the NHS website
✔ NHS 111 online
✔ 111.nhs.uk
✔ call 111
X NHS111
✔ older people or specify an age range if possible such as over 65s, over 80s
X ‘the elderly’ or elderly people
✔ ok
X  okay
X on-line
✔ people (our preference)
✔patients and people who use services/service users (if in the content of a particular service and if using the word ‘people’ alone would be confusing)
X persons 
X citizens
X peri-natal
X policeman
✔ safer (as in safer drinking or safer sex)X safe (do not say safe drinking or safe sex)
✔ died by suicide
X committed suicide
✔ Talking therapies (or treatments)
X Talking Therapies
✔ transgender, trans – use transgender the first time, thereafter trans, and only as an adjective: transgender person, trans person
X ‘transgendered person’ or ‘a transgender’
X web-page or web page
X web-site or web site
✔ wellbeing
X well being or well-being

Gender neutral language

We make content gender neutral as much as possible.  We avoid masculine and feminine pronouns and never say “his” to include men and women:

X A GP needs to support his patients with mental health problems.

GPs need to support their patients with mental health problems.

Our content uses ‘you’ where appropriate and sometimes “they”, “their” or “them” unless this would be confusing.

There is more guidance about inclusive language in the NHS style guide.