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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10 Thoughts on “Suicide: how do we say it?

  1. Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, most people are too *cough* stupid *cough* to understand people with suicidal tendencies. The latter are labelled as “tanga” for not knowing that suicide won’t solve their problems.

    Anyway, I too hope that people would be more open-minded and understanding regarding this issue.

  2. These people need to be educated that those who have suicidal tendencies need help. Most often, there are signs they called for help but often ignored as angst, or just an episode of sadness. In the USA, sucidal thoughts are considered emergency cases.

  3. That’s really shocking how less some people know about mental illness. In europa suizide has been a crime too, but at least that stopped. But it is still something that people have problems to talk about.

  4. @borderline- suicide has had bad connotation since the middle ages. Even families of the departed were punished.

  5. @noemi

    wow – about the bad connotation if already heard … but that it affected the whole family … (to be true … when I think back to when I was much closer to this “topic” than now … that would have been one really good reason for me to do it … whith the mind I had then …)

    a quote from Terry Pratchett came to my mind when I read it … it’s just my translation:

    “Some time ago people who tried to commit suicide and failed, got locked up in prison. Probably to show them how beautiful life could be.”

  6. unless they are in the shoes of those people who commit suicide, people will never understand the mentall illness behind it…..i i myself have been battling with depression for many years and i had no control over the feeling of hopelessness and sadness…..it’s like a headache that you can’t control. the only difference between the two , is when you’re depressed, you are more likely to commit suicide because you feel detached from life and the only way to make it go away is to kill yourself.

  7. i need more study about suicide fo my thsis………

  8. Having been depressed and suicidal for a number of years, I’ve been called everything from crazy to stupid by the people around me. One religious person even went so far as to call me a heretic! The only thing I can say in defense comes from, ironically, the Bible: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  9. Having been depressed and suicidal for a number of years, I’ve been called everything from crazy to stupid by the people around me. One religious person even went so far as to call me a heretic! The only thing I can say in defense comes from, ironically, the Bible: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  10. Having been depressed and suicidal for a number of years, I’ve been called everything from crazy to stupid by the people around me. One religious person even went so far as to call me a heretic! The only thing I can say in defense comes from, ironically, the Bible: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

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