‘Died by suicide’ not ‘committed suicide’

Dear Editor,

The Caribbean Voice is requesting that all media refrain from using the term ‘committed suicide’ to refer to the act whereby someone dies by suicide. Suicide prevention activists and organizations argue that the word ‘commit’ has certain negative connotations and associations such as in ‘criminals commit crimes’. And in spite of the archaic law in Guyana that criminalizes attempted suicide, suicide is not a crime but a mental health issue, especially given that all triggers lead to either depression or anxiety which in turn catalyze suicide ideation and suicide itself. Suicide prevention activists and organizations are requesting that the replacement terms be ‘died by suicide’ or ‘is a suicide victim’.

Also, instead of ‘reducing suicide’ or ‘suicide reduction,’ please use ‘creating suicide free (or suicide freer) communities’. The goal of activists is not to reduce suicide since one suicide is one too many; the goal is to work to create suicide freer communities that would eventually result in suicide free communities.

Yours faithfully,

Annan Boodram

The Caribbean Voice

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