The way we communicate about a subject conveys how we feel about that subject, so being aware of our language is important, especially when talking about suicide. People struggling with thoughts of suicide, attempt survivors, and suicide loss survivors often experience feelings of isolation and judgement due to how society thinks and talks about suicide. Here is a quick guide to talking about suicide.

Do’sDon’ts
Use the phrase “died by suicide”Use the phrases “committed suicide” or “completed suicide” or “successful suicide”
Use the phrase “suicide attempt”Use the phrases “unsuccessful suicide” or “failed suicide”
Emphasize help seeking behaviors and that suicide is preventableGlorifying or Romanticizing Suicide
Discuss warning signsDiscuss methods of suicide or suicide notes
letters spell out suicide prevention with 2 hands clasping

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

Resources:

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Lifeline Online Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
  • Starting Point Behavioral Health: (904) 225-8280