ERIC Number: ED262528
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Slogans and Euphemisms: The Functions of Semantics in Mental Health and Mental Retardation Care.
Bachrach, Leona L.
The paper examines the way in which semantics relates to policies of deinstitutionalization of persons with mental illness and mental retardation. Different understandings of common terms in the field are illustrated and it is suggested that the government plays many games, both number games and word games, in dealing with homeless people, migrant workers, and mentally ill persons. Once the existence of illness is denied, so too is the need for special services for that population. Semantic games may impair the ability to think clearly because the terms are so vague or because catchwords, euphemisms, and metaphors minimize the complexity of the problms we need to resolve. The semantics of five key terms are examined: least restrictive alternatives, young adult chronic patients, deinstitutionalization, community, and asylum. Finally, the importance of a renewed commitment to the mentally disabled is stressed, as is the need to educate oneself to understand the power of words. (CL)
Descriptors: Definitions, Deinstitutionalization (of Disabled), Mental Disorders, Mental Retardation, Semantics
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, P.O. Box 7998, Austin, TX 78713-7998 ($0.60).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Texas State Dept. of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Austin.
Authoring Institution: Texas Univ., Austin. Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Note: An address delivered in Austin, Texas, October 22, 1984.