Mental Health, Discourse and Stigma

Olga Zayts-Spence*, David Edmonds, Zoe Fortune

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


In this editorial to the special collection “Mental Health, Discourse and Stigma” we outline the concepts of mental, health, discourse and stigma as they are examined through sociolinguistic lenses. We examine the sociolinguistic approach to mental health and stigma and discuss the different theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches that have been applied in such contexts. Sociolinguistics views mental health and stigma as discursively constructed and constituted, i.e. they are both manifest, negotiated, reinforced or contested in the language that people use. We highlight existing gaps in sociolinguistic research and outline how it could enrich research in psychology and psychiatry and contribute to professional practice. Specifically, sociolinguistics provides well-established methodological tools to research the ‘voices’ of people with a history of mental ill health, their family, carers and mental health professionals in both online and off-line contexts. This is vital to develop targeted interventions and to contribute to de-stigmatization of mental health. To conclude, we highlight the importance of transdisciplinary research that brings together expertise in psychology, psychiatry and sociolinguistics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number180
JournalBMC Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2023


  • Discourse
  • Mental health
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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