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Suicide Prevention: Why We All Need To Stop Saying ‘Committed Suicide’
Campaigners including Stephen Fry and Zoe Ball have called for an end to stigmatising language.
In an open letter published on World Suicide Prevention Day, campaigners say the media in particular has a responsibility to use considered language when writing on the topic, encouraging journalists to think about the impact certain phrases may have on the general public, as well as bereaved families and friends. “We still read that a person has ‘committed suicide’, suggesting suicide is either a sin or a crime, or both. It has not been a crime in the UK since 1961,” the letter reads. “This form of words can imply that to take one’s own life is a selfish, cowardly, criminal or irreligious act, rather than the manifestation of extreme mental distress and unbearable pain. It also adds to the stigma and feelings of shame that prevent people from reaching out for help.”
If you think a loved one may be suicidal, it can be tempting to tread on egg shells through fear of making things worse. But having visible support can make all the difference for someone who’s thinking about taking their own life. When a person reaches a point where they feel suicidal, they often lose sight of being able to work through their problems, they can feel completely consumed with hopelessness and often believe those around them will be better off if they are no longer here.
“Talking can really help a person to see a way through this and we would encourage anyone who is feeling low to reach out for help.”