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Social Healing Through Language Change


New! Social Healing Words booklet helps to transform the use of language to promote recovery and resilience for individuals, families, and communities. The booklet, developed by Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, provides new terms and phrases that can be used to replace other words that are currently in use related to people experiencing behavioral health and disability challenges. The booklet offers new, inclusive, value-based language that everyone can adopt to support and respect their clients, friends, colleagues, and family members.

The free booklet ‘Social Healing’ is available for download here:

Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) has integrated its behavioral health care and intellectual disability services into one comprehensive system. DBHIDS components provide services through a network of agencies while collaborating with the Philadelphia School District, child welfare and judicial systems, and other stakeholders. The DBHIDS management team and employees embrace a vision of recovery, resilience, and self-determination. They continue to shift to a model of care directed by the person in recovery. In this model, professional treatment is one aspect among many that supports people in managing their own conditions while building their own recovery resources. This recovery process should be viewed as a lifetime journey. Transformation to a recovery orientation in both addictions and mental health becomes possible by focusing on the central role of individuals and families in responding to, managing, and overcoming these serious illnesses. This focus must be an organizing point for the entire system. They also strive to help people with intellectual disability live self-determined lives in their communities by providing quality supports and services.

Learn more about Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services here:

Keywords: social, healing, words, language, change, booklet, DBHIDS

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