“According to a study from Ohio State University, something as subtle as phrasing can have an effect on someone’s tolerance. Using a questionnaire designed to measure attitudes toward people with mental illness, participants were given one of two versions of the survey: In one version, all references were to “the mentally ill,” and in the other, all references were to “people with mental illness.” Unsurprisingly, researchers found that across all demographics, people who received the “mentally ill” survey showed less tolerance than those who read about “people with mental illness.””
I haven’t given that a lot of thought, but I do know I try to not refer to specific people as being “mentally ill” as much as I try and describe them as struggling with mental health issues or depression, etc. It just sounds nicer to me, and apparently can have an effect on how those people are perceived by readers. So, I will try and be even more aware of it going forward!