Inclusive and Empathetic Language Use Guidelines

Alliance for Healthier Communities

Referring to people as the vulnerable, the poor, the homeless, drug addicts, mentally ill, disabled, etc., is common in policy documents, media and our own communications. Unlike derogatory terms or slurs, these words are not meant to be intentionally harmful. More often than not they are used out of convenience or convention. That doesn’t mean this kind of language doesn’t have harmful effects.

Negative public perception of certain groups also results in lack of support for the policy changes required to create a more equitable and just society.  Proper language use is not about political correctness. It is a matter of health equity and social justice.