This page provides an insight into the power of language: to help with recovery and resilience and to reduce stigma, particularly in connection with our mental and physical health.

The Power of Language

Language is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal as staff members within all areas of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).  Our expertise, knowledge, support and compassion are portrayed through the words that we say and the way that we say them.  Thoughtful consideration around our language is vitally important to ensure that we are using our language to its full potential.

The Power of Language Workshops for CPFT Staff

The workshop will provide staff with an opportunity to explore this topic in greater depth and discover how you can develop your own language skills to become more effective communicators with the people you support, your colleagues and even your family and friends.  

Recovery College East hopes to offer a workshop to staff during the Spring Term 2019.  Please contact the recovery college team if you would like more information or would like to register your interest in attending a workshop.

t. Cambridge: 01223 227510 | Peterborough: 01733 746660 or 746662

Mind your language

This article, written by Sharon Gilfoyle (Head of Inclusion at CPFT), provides an in-depth exploration of how stigmatising terms have permeated the language we experience in our lives and expands to offer tips on how we can challenge the language around us to create better environments in which to work and to provide or receive support.  The article is available to download via the link at the bottom of the page.

After reading the article we encourage you to take the ‘Mind Your Language’ Challenge...

The 'Mind Your Language' Challenge

Undertaking this challenge allows us to become conscious of the language that is used freely within society and becoming more aware is the first step to making change.  Ideally undertake the challenge with others (e.g. colleagues, family or friends) and reflect back together the following day.  If you don’t watch television you can still participate in the  challenge by listening to the radio or reading a magazine or newspaper.

Step 1: Watch television for around 30 minutes to an 1 hour and during this time make a note of all of the words or phrases that you hear that could be deemed stigmatising or hurtful in relation to mental or physical health ('soaps' are often a good place to start!).

Step 2: Reflect back with others:  What did you notice?  How did it make you feel?  What could be changed?  Think about the suggestions for challenging stigmatising language from Sharon’s article and consider how you might choose to approach the situations you saw on television.

Further Reading

'The Power of Language' is an extract from the Peer Education Programme, which provides some simple and effective guidance to support you to reflect and grow your language skills.  This extract is also available to download using the link below.

For more information about Recovery College East, Recovery and Peer Support please click on the links below,

Internal Links

Further information

The page was last updated on 13 December 2018 by terry.protheroe.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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