Can we stop using the phrase ‘committed suicide?’

60 second video

Say tally ho, bon voyage, bye bye, auf weidersehen, addio, au revoir, 再见, addios, sayonara, to the word “committed” when it’s next to the word suicide. Jettison it from your vocab forever, throw it in a deeply dug latrine, say a final memorial, cover it with dirt and leave it behind forever. “Committed” screams shame and adds to the stigma.

Suicide is not a crime it’s public health issue

We don’t say that someone committed a heart attack so why are we saying someone committed suicide? I’m not word-shaming you, just making you aware of the difference in language. The video tells you why we say it that way.

The accepted phrase is “died by suicide,” “killed himself,” “took his life.” Of course you’d use the right gender he, she, their. Even if there is still some archaic law on the books in your state, it is recognized by medical and clinical science as a public health crisis.

It’s been “committed” for centuries so it will take a while to change. Do me a favor when you slip up and correct yourself out loud. That will give you the opportunity to educate others. I have addressed this topic before but it bears repeating and I wanted to do a one-minute video for the YouTube and Instagram.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

4 thoughts on “Can we stop using the phrase ‘committed suicide?’”

  1. Thank you for this. I will share. I teach mental health nursing, and I stress the importance of communication and word choices. Instead of saying, “This is John. John is an addict” I encourage “John is a loving father who suffers from the disease of addiction”.

  2. Excellent and shared. I usually say Whitten took his life.
    And thankfully I can say that, since I don’t live in Berkeley, CA….(where you can no longer refer to he or she – you have to say they) 😉
    But seriously, it’s good info. It is hard to get used to , since we’ve been saying it for centuries…but we raise awareness.

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