I am mad. Okay, maybe “mad” isn’t the right term… perhaps, “discouraged” is a better term. Several times in the last few weeks, I have read or heard reviews of unrelated books and movies. In each, words used to describe a character, suffering from a diagnosable mental illness, were insulting and sophomoric. I feel certain that the authors of those reviews would use kinder, more appropriate terms to describe a person with a biological disease such as cancer or Parkinson’s. Maybe they do not realize that mental illness is every bit as much a biological disease as cancer, Parkinson’s, or asthma. Just as we as a society have gradually become sensitive to demeaning nouns and adjectives for people of different races, genders or sexual orientations, we need to be careful about how we refer to those around us suffering from a behavioral health disorder. Let’s leave the terms, which are offensive when used to describe a person, to describe things. Despite what the kid’s “sticks and stones” poem says, words not only can and do hurt, but they perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas.