How to Use the Right Words
- Be thoughtful and careful about how the words you use to talk about suicide and suicide prevention.
- Say attempt suicide, not committed suicide. The term commit dates back to a time when suicide was a crime. Suicide is not a crime. In most cases, someone who attempts suicide is struggling with a mental health issue. Saying commit suicide may make a person feel like you are blaming them. It is better to say died by suicide or completed suicide.
- Do not say a suicide attempt was successful or unsuccessful. Instead, say completed suicide, died by suicide, or attempted suicide so that it does not sound like death is a desired outcome.
- Attempt survivors are people who attempted but survived a suicide attempt.
- Suicide loss survivors are family and friends who have lost someone to suicide.
Resources on suicide-related language:
Language and Suicide from Everymind
Your Language Matters from the National Alliance on Mental Illness