Language used can be a barrier to understanding and an imperfect container for concepts. How we use language at Synergi will change and evolve over time but for now, please look below for explanations of why we use certain terms.


The problem of language is abundantly apparent when using words around race. Different people and communities will use different words to talk about their identities, and there is no one word or phrase which will capture everyone’s experience. 

We use language such as ‘racialised people’ to highlight that people are categorised into races; and have been othered and marginalised by white supremacy. Race is a social construction without genetic or biological background, however race has a far reaching and real impact.

We sometimes use the term ‘global majority’ to highlight that there are more black and brown people in the world than white, to reframe this linguistically without centring whiteness.

Sometimes we use the acronym ‘BPOC’ to mean ‘Black and People of Colour’ and will link to references that use ‘BAME’ meaning ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’, ‘BME’ Black Minority Ethnic, or ‘ethnic minorities’. However we know that some people experience this framing as unhelpful, as different communities experience racism and discrimination in different ways.


We recognise that not all people and groups will be familiar with, or will use the word ‘abolition’, however, we use this word purposefully to mean dismantling harmful practices found in traditional mental health systems. There are a significant proportion of people who experience mental health care as coercive and carceral, especially those from a racialised background.

We use the term ‘carceral systems’ to mean state systems within society that control and punish individuals and communities, contributing to mental ill health, distress, and trauma. This can include psychiatric hospitals, the wider health system, prisons, policing, national borders, Prevent, surveillance, and the education system.

Synergi’s work, like all abolitionist work, involves ‘reimagining‘. We use this word to signal the need to experiment with new structures of care and support. We need to build alternatives to traditional systems so that communities and individuals living with mental ill health, distress and trauma, can experience hope and healing, justice and joy.


There is a long tradition of civil rights campaigning and organising within marginalised communities. We see this with Mad Pride, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA+ Pride (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual). We are not reinventing the wheel, but continuing the legacy of the survivors, activists and community workers that laid foundations for us to build on.