In a crazy turn of events, the word “lunatic” will be removed from Federal law.
In April, Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced a bill to remove the word “lunatic” from Federal law. The Senators believed the omission of the word was necessary in order to reflect the country’s current understanding of mental health issues.
“Recently, a North Dakota constituent contacted my office to express support for legislative efforts to remove this outdated and inappropriate language from federal law,” noted Conrad. “Sen. Crapo and I agree that federal law should reflect the 21st-century understanding of mental illness and disease, and that the continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the U.S. Code.”
The bill passed swiftly with no opposition.
The Mental Health Liaison Group applauds the decision: “This legislation recognizes the considerable stigma that is associated with mental health conditions. The continued use of outdated and offensive terms, such as ‘lunatic,’ which are utilized in some parts of the U.S. code to refer to individuals with mental health conditions only serve to perpetuate this stigmatization.”
The group concludes that words like “lunatic” can prevent a person “from accessing the excellent mental services they deserve.”