Language when talking about Suicide – stop using the word “committed”

The Beyond Blue Australian website has this great information on taking the word “committed” out of the conversations about suicide.  Committed has in the past been linked to a criminal offence, and for some people of faith people “committed” a negative deed against their faith or God.  Thankfully modern conversations are taking into consideration why people make the choice to take their own life, and whilst slow, public education hopefully is making the community understand a little better why people make that choice.  Here is the excerpt from Beyond Blue’s website on the topic.

At beyondblue we encourage appropriate and healthy conversations about suicide and self-harm, and we place emphasis on the importance of using de-stigmatising language when discussing these topics.

“Suicide is no longer a crime, and so we should stop saying that people commit suicide. We now live in a world where we seek to understand people who experience suicidal thoughts, behaviours and attempts, and then to treat them with compassion rather than condemn them. Part of this is to use appropriate, non-stigmatising terminology when referring to suicide.”

– Susan Beaton, Suicide Prevention Advisor, beyondblue

How to talk about suicide

Avoid stigmatising terminology

  • Committed suicide
  • Successful suicide
  • Completed suicide
  • Failed attempt at suicide
  • Unsuccessful suicide

Use appropriate terminology

  • Died by suicide
  • Suicided
  • Ended his/her life
  • Took his/her life
  • Attempt to end his/her life

Read more in the journal article Suicide and language: Why we shouldn’t use the ‘C’ word