Words Matter Most people know that how we use words truly matters. "Words Matter" uses person-first language when describing individuals who have mental health issues, substance use conditions, developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, or preferences on sexual orientation and gender identity. These general tips emphasize the person first (not their condition) and promotes dignity and respect for all. These recommendations are intended to make it easier to talk with people, write about them, and share their stories. This is simply a guide; when you are not sure which word or phrase to use, it is best to simply ask. Click here to download a printable version of this brochure.