In addition to following the Brown Act, and abiding by adopted meeting rules (e.g. Roberts Rules), the following guidelines are provided to help local mental health boards (MHBs) function as effective advisory bodies.
Conduct Agreement – A listing can be printed on agendas and/or read at the beginning of each meeting. The following list is an example:
When talking about people with mental illness, it is important to be mindful and use "person-first language". MHB members should set an example and lead the way in using terminology when speaking or writing that is positive and reflective of the person first.
Generic phrases such as "the mentally ill" or "psychologically disturbed" are not appropriate since they convey a lack of appreciation for and depersonalize the individual. These terms communicate and reinforce the discriminatory notion of a special and separate group that is fundamentally unlike the rest of "us."
The use of person-first language such as "a person with schizophrenia," "an individual with bipolar disorder," or "people with mental illnesses," communicates first that they are people and second that they have a disability. Use of person-first language, although sometimes awkward, is important and requires that we be mindful of what we present to the public.
Language to Avoid
• Mentally defective or disturbed • Mentally ill • Mentally or emotionally handicapped • Crazy, nuts, etc. • Emotionally challenged • Differently-abled • Victim or sufferer
• Person with a psychiatric or psychological disability • Person with schizophrenia • Person with a mental illness • Person with bipolar disorder • Individual living with mental illness