Stigmatizing Language Removed from California Law

The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), the Stigma and Discrimination Reduction (SDR) Consortium, and Disability Rights California are proud to announce that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed AB 1847 (Chesbro). AB 1847 removes from California law hundreds of outdated and inaccurate terms used to describe people with mental health challenges.

Updating California laws to replace outdated and inaccurate terms with person-centered language is an important victory for Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement.

Just a few examples of the stigmatizing language removed from California law include:

  • California law governing access to educational programs for school age children described some children in state hospitals as “mentally disordered.”
  • “Incurable insanity” was described as a criterion for divorce.
  • Laws concerning the custody of children use the terms “the mentally ill, mentally defective or epileptic” to describe appropriate placements.

Thank you for your support as our organizations worked to remove these outdated references that perpetuated stigma and false assumptions about people with mental health challenges, and to reduce discrimination faced by people with mental health challenges.

For more information on Each Mind Matters’ campaign to reduce Stigma and Discrimination, visit


The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Prevention and Early Intervention Programs implemented by CalMHSA are funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). For more information visit