Using the Correct Term

Most people who have lost a loved one by suicide are very passionate about using a term that does not stigmatize their loved one. It is not uncommon to hear in a news report someone use the term “committed suicide.”

My husband and I facilitate a support group for people who have lost love ones by suicide. Hearing the word “commit” brings out all kinds of negative connotations. It is used to commit murder, commit robbery, commit adultery or other kinds of wrong doing that signify a crime. It even goes back to the times when people were committed to asylums.

Recently an article by Glenn E. Rice had the headline “Man who killed estranged wife commits suicide.”

A person who attempts or dies by suicide is in deep pain and hopelessness and is experiencing mental illness. This does not signify he or she is a criminal.

Please use the correct term and understand the importance of language. If you had lost a loved one
to suicide, you would want his or her death treated with respect. Wouldn’t you?