Language Matters

Language Matters

Next Training

March 13th, 2018

Join MHASF for a lively, interactive discussion on the language we use to talk about mental health challenges and how we can work together to improve it! Learn the concepts behind inclusive language, how to implement new and dynamic language that honors the unique lived experience of each individual, and ways to ensure the messages we intend to send are the messages that get received.

Language is one of the most important tools we have for defining the world we live in. By changing the words we use to talk about something, we can change the way it’s perceived. This is especially true of the language we use to discuss mental health challenges. Each of us can help to create an environment that promotes recovery and wellness by examining the language we use and actively seeking to change it for the better.


Developed for a diverse audience including peers, medical providers, family members, and non-profit workers, Language Matters is a lively, thought-provoking training that has drawn rave reviews at the 2014 Tools for Change Conference, the 2015 Alternatives Conference, multiple Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering conferences, and the 2015 WRAP Around the World Conference, as well as community presentations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


Next Training: March 13th, 2018

Individual Rate – $175/person

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the concepts behind recovery-focused language, rather than memorizing a list of "acceptable words"
  • To learn how to identify and challenge the use of words that enable and perpetuate discrimination
  • To implement new and dynamic language that honors the unique lived experience of each person
  • To ensure that the messages we intend to send are the messages that get received

Target Audience and Instructional Level

Language Matters is relevant and accessible to a variety of audiences, including peers, family members, medical and mental health providers, MFT/LCSW students, and non-profit workers. No prerequisite trainings are required.


Coming soon!


To be announced.

About the Trainers

Presenters Terri Byrne and Julian Plumadore bring together their personal lived experience of mental health challenges and their professional experience in the field of mental health recovery in a training that will change not only the way participants speak about mental health, but the way they think about it as well. Terri and Julian will lead an interactive discussion on the ways in which the language surrounding mental health often contributes to stigma and discrimination, and how we can alter the way our culture approaches mental health challenges by using language that, instead of promoting myths and stereotypes, reflects the reality of recovery.

Terri Byrne


Terri Byrne has been working in the mental health field for over 30 years. She has witnessed firsthand the transformation of the mental health system. Over 20 years ago, Terri worked in a Psychiatric Social Rehabilitation agency that valued employing people with lived experience. She has worked in hospitals as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner as well as an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator. Terri is the Project Manager for PROPEL, which is the the Bay Area Peer Professional Network. She is excited about working with students who are in / graduated from the Peer Training Programs (RAMS, BestNOW and Community Action Marin) supporting them in obtaining and maintaining employment in the mental health workforce.

Julian Plumadore


As Community Engagement Manager, Julian Plumadore draws on his 30+ years of lived experience as a mental health peer to create opportunities for community dialogue and peer professional development. Jules provides peer facilitation supervision for the Help For Hoarding study with UCSF; leads the organization of the annual Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Awards Ceremony; oversees the Sharing Our Lives, Voices, and Experiences (SOLVE) Speakers Bureau; and is the co-creator of Language Matters, a training on changing the way we think about mental health challenges by changing the way we talk about them. He has been a featured presenter at mental health recovery conferences throughout the US (including Alternatives, WRAP Around the World, and the International Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering) and has been recognized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for his contributions to Crisis Interventions Team (CIT) Training with the San Francisco Police Department. Jules is passionate about creating accessible connections between peers, communities, and ideas.

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