The language used when we talk about #suicide 

Good Evening All,

Just as I was about to crash out and relax for the evening, a quick flicker of Twitter prompted me to write, now. 

– Someone had expressed their upset as yet another person referred to someone taking their life as someone having, ‘committed’ suicide. 

I won’t be the first to write about this, and I surely won’t be the last. But seeing as the recent launch of #SuicideTabooAndLifeWithoutYou has taken off on faceyB – (see it here -https://www.facebook.com/SuicideTabooAndLifeWithoutYou/) I thought, there’s no time like the present for me to give my stance.

An easy slip of the tongue, everyone else has said it for donkeys years, you name it – I’m sure you have your reasons. But here’s why it’s not exactly nice to be on the receiving end of a conversation (as much as I promote talking openly about it!) if you’re using terminology like –  ‘committed’ suicide. 

Before my mum passed, I was in the ignorant club too, and didn’t think twice about the term. When you’re bereaved by suicide, it can hit you in the stomach and it may then make sense why it’s not okay that people are using this term.

Think about it – what do you associate ‘committed’ with? (apart from fluffy loving relationship stuff!) Crime. In fact, when I was at school – a whole lovely (not) section on suicide was included in the -get this- ‘Crime and Deviance’ A level Sociology section (and was not exactly approached without sniggers and stigma.)

It’s sadly not even that long ago that people changed their laws about it! You can read more about that here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14374296 

It also really doesn’t help with the discrimination around mental illness either. To think it’s a crime and that ‘mad’ people go and ‘commit’ suicide. That they’re a danger to society – people used to lock them up. When actually, and devastatingly, the prison they’d have spent most their time in would have been their own mind and troubles and the only way they may have seen is out.

It also helps to note that not everyone who takes their own life has diagnosable mental illness. 

We can’t generalise when it comes to these things. Everyone’s circumstances will have been different. But we can look at the way we percieve, talk and write about suicide. There are some common denominators. Some shared factors or contributors to the endless ‘why’s’ left in those bereaved minds. 

It’s hard enough without the stigma, the connotations of old school negative views – of the many that are dearly loved, missed, and cherished – being referred to as deviant. 

Please be a little mindful next time. Share compassion, for those who are bereaved and about those, who took their lives.

Abs X ❤️

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3 thoughts on “The language used when we talk about #suicide 

  1. well said Abbie – we do need to be sensitive and thoughtful in how we talk about suicide and move away from damning language. xx

    Like

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