Suicide: how do we say it?

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How do you say it?

She died of [tag]suicide[/tag].

Died of suicide” or “died by suicide” are accurate, emotionally- neutral ways to explain a child’s death.

The Compassionate Friends, a support organization for families who have experienced the death of a child, took this historic step to modernize the language which describes a [tag]death by suicide[/tag].

suicide1.thumb.jpgCompassionate Friends Organization Changes Suicide Language

The Board of Directors, encouraged by members and staff, have officially adopted the terms “died by suicide” or “died of suicide” to replace the commonly used “committed suicide” or “completed suicide.” Currently all TCF publications and presentations are being updated to reflect the new language. TCF USA

There is so much stigma associated with kids who died by suicide (or died of suicide). Much of this stigma is is a carryover from the Middle Ages. Victims were forbidden traditional funerals and burials, and suicide was considered both illegal and sinful by the laws and religions of the time.

Today, we understand that most suicides are the result of biochemical illnesses such as clinical depression. Yet, the stigma associated with suicide often forces family members to choose between secrecy about the death and social isolation.

Why so? It’s starts in our own Catholic Church. Our [tag]Filipino Culture[/tag].

Suicide is an illness, not a sin.

Some priests refuse to bless the dead if the death is caused by suicide. But these same priests bless cars, pigs, houses…what hypocrisy.

Some ignorant acquaintances withdraw association with the family as if continuation of their ties might contaminate them of the disease. The whole family is judged .

I have friends who tell me that they invited their bereaved friends to attend our meetings. They never come. They don’t initiate contact.

Perhaps, they don’t know how our group will react to the dreaded “s” word.

The pain of losing a child is universal. The circumstance vary. My heart goes out to these bereaved parents. I want to talk to them.

Let us help eradicate the secrecy and stigma that surround these types of death. If we allow these to persist, we allow their lives to be diminished. We owe these children more than that.

I hope you will find the courage to tell your story one day.

(Read more on Suicide Awareness and Prevention.)

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