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.

Help us improve this guidance

Share insights or feedback and take part in the discussion. We use GitHub as a collaboration space. All the information on it is open to the public.

Read more about how to feedback or share insights.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the service manual team.

Updated: September 2021