Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Part 2


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As suicide rates continue to be on the rise in our country, it is important to be mindful of the way in which we communicate about it. Much like anything, there is, what we as clinicians would call, both helpful and unhelpful language to use when we are caring for those who have had a loved one die by suicide. Here are three things to be more aware of as we navigate these discussions.

‘Completed’ or ‘Not Completed’ – More helpful language to use would be completed or not completed, as oppose to ‘Attempted’ or ‘Committed’. This allows us to move away from the tendency to criminalize the act.
‘Died by suicide’ – To use when describing the type of death.
Suicide = Mental Illness – Like other mental disorders, it can be difficult or even uncomfortable to talk about, however it is important to keep this perspective in the forefront of our minds when speaking about the subject and find ourselves trying to make sense of the loss.

At the end of the day, what the survivors really need is care and support.
Unfortunately, due to the stigma around suicide, research shows that families who have experienced this kind of loss receive far less support than those who have known other types of tragedy.

*Information adapted from the work of David Kessler and Dr. Alan Wolfelt