The Language of Suicide

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To date, it has been normal to explain the death of someone as having “committed suicide”. You commit murder. You commit theft. You commit suicide. And indeed, up until the early 90s, suicide remained a crime in two states. But the term is old fashioned, inaccurate, and can be offensive to the bereaved.

A kinder and more appropriate way of describing a death this way, is to say that they died by suicide. When someone dies by suicide, they do so because they are in immense pain, and they believe they cannot handle that pain anymore. The anguish and turmoil one must feel in the months, days, hours leading up to a suicide must be utterly horrific, and the least they deserve is a little kindness and respect after their passing.

By changing the language of suicide, we change people’s perceptions, and hopefully we challenge the stigma around suicide.

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