Inclusive content - Disabilities and conditions

Use positive language and do not label people with disabilities and conditions.

Content designers should be familiar with the social model of disability. Find out more about the social model on Scope's website.

We do say things like:

  • people living with a disability, or disabled person
  • people with diabetes
  • wheelchair user

We do not say:

  • afflicted by
  • suffering from
  • victim of
  • confined to a wheelchair
  • handicapped
  • diabetic person
  • mentally ill
  • sick or diseased person

Mental health

We do not describe people as mentally ill.

We do say:

  • mental health condition
  • mental health problems


NHS digital services should be accessible to everyone who needs them. Follow our guidance on accessibility for content designers, writers and editors in the digital service manual.

Would you like to contribute to this guidance?

Please let us know how this has worked for you and, in particular, if you have research findings to share. This will help us improve it for everyone.

Before you start, you will need a GitHub account. It's an open forum where we collect feedback.

If you have any questions, you can message us on Slack. You will need a Slack account if you do not have one. Or you can contact us by email.

Updated: September 2021