It is estimated each year more than 300,000 Australians are touched in some way by suicide.
It is estimated each year more than 300,000 Australians are touched in some way by suicide. John Gass

A caring, sensitive approach

THE time has come to change the way we talk about suicide.

According to local Lifeline trainer and telephone crisis support supervisor Lyn Anderson, the phrase "committing suicide" perpetuates the stigma toward and judgment of the tragic event.

"We associate the word 'committed with' crime and sin - one also can be 'committed' to a mental health facility," Lyn said.

Many advocates in suicide prevention and bereavement, along with social researchers, are promoting a more sensitive and respectful language around suicide.

"At presentations and workshops we talk about the language of suicide," Lyn said.

"Through education, we hope we can purge our language of phrases like 'commit suicide', 'successful suicide', 'failed suicide attempt' or 'completed suicide'. The terms successful or failed should never be associated with suicide. Typically, when we complete something we feel good - that feeling should not be associated with suicide."

What words are more sensitive and respectful and less judgmental?

"We can choose to say 'died by suicide' or there was a 'suicide attempt' - such phrases are void of judgment and lessen the stigma associated with suicide," Lyn said.

It is estimated each year more than 300,000 Australians are touched in some way by suicide.

In a time of crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.



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