Language feeds stigma. Language feeds attitude. Language influences.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in the US has released recommendations for depicting suicide in the media. These guidelines are useful for any of us in conversations either face to face or indeed via social media.
1. conveying that suicide is complex, often caused by a range of factors, rather than by a single event;
2. showing that help is available;
3. portraying characters with suicidal thoughts who do not go on to die by suicide;
4. portraying everyday characters who can be a lifeline;
5. avoiding showing or describing details about suicide methods;
6. consulting with suicide prevention experts and those with lived experience;
7. depicting the grieving process of people who lose someone to suicide;
8. using nonjudgmental language.”
These points should be respected too by anyone writing about the subject. Language feeds stigma.
The SFA City & Guilds in Suicide Intervention supports and educates on each of those points. Organisations would be doing themselves and their employees AND their communities a favour by signing up to the workshop to do your bit in the fight against suicide; most people who die by suicide are of working age and don’t have diagnosed mental illnesses.
I’ve space in May if you are up for putting your money where your mouth is?
The age of awareness is past – action is needed.