If there’s a beauty line that is about accepting who you are and finding the beauty in your imperfections, Rare Beauty is definitely top of mind.
Rare Beauty is not your typical celebrity-endorsed cosmetics line. Selena Gomez has long been an advocate of diversity in beauty, embracing natural but beautifully unique features, and of course, mental health. After all, these features are absolutely what makes you a “rare beauty”.
In celebration of the Mental Health Awareness Month, Rare Beauty hosted its annual Mental Health Summit last May 4, 2023, as part of their Rare Impact Campaign that is committed to raise awareness and increase access to mental health services for young people, along with their continuous Rare Impact Fund to which 1% of all Rare Beauty sales go directly.
Photos from @rarebeauty on Instagram.
As part of their Rare Impact Blog, Rare Beauty believes that word choice in mental health is crucial because this is one way to reduce and eventually eliminate stigma linked to mental health. Their advice? Use person-first language.
Person-first language recognizes that a person’s diagnosis, mental health challenge, or disability is not as important as the person’s individuality and humanity, and does not define them.
Being considerate and respectful in our word choice when it comes to conversations about mental health can have a significant impact on both our own emotions and the emotions of others around us, considering that 1 in 6 of us experiences high levels of discomfort or a common mental health problem weekly.
Being thoughtful and incorporating simple change in our language, that is to focus on the person, not on their illness, can be very powerful. For instance:
- Say “A person who has bipolar disorder” instead of “bipolar person.”
- Say “A person without housing” instead of “homeless person”.
- Say “A person who died by suicide” instead of someone who “committed suicide”.
- Say “A person who uses drugs” instead of “drug addict.”
See the huge difference a subtle, responsible tweak makes!
In terms of our own emotions, it is also essential for us to use accurate and appropriate language when describing our feelings. When we don’t use the right words, we run the risk of downplaying important issues or misdefining something—which is the very thing that we are trying to avoid.
- Depression is not the same as having a bad day.
- Anxiety Disorder is not the same as feeling stressed before an exam.
- Bipolar Disorder is not the same as being moody.
- Panic Disorder is not the same as feeling afraid.
- PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) is not the same as feeling upset.
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is not the same as being organized.
- Schizophrenia is not a “split personality.” Using words like “psycho” to call a person, or “schizo” to describe a person’s reaction or personality stigmatizes people diagnosed and living with Schizophrenia or experiencing psychosis.
Unfortunately, there are some derogatory language that has already been accepted and normalized in the society, and that this has led to a cultural desensitization to words that may be harmful to both ourselves and others.
It’s almost cliché to say that words are very powerful. But it’s important to remind ourselves of this from time to time because in this context, words have the power to further discourage people from seeking help and perpetuate the stigma associated with mental illness. On the brighter side, when we get to an understanding that our words matter and appreciate the value of responsible word choice, the words we choose to use also has the potential to help cultivate positive difference in eradicating the mental health stigma.
Source: Mental Health First Aid & Mental Health Foundation UK
Have you arrived to the realization that Your Words Matter? Join the #MoreThanEnough Campaign of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) this Mental Health Awareness Month. And make sure to flaunt your rare beauty while you’re at it!
Read more from Jannah Janela Martos here!