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Pennsylvania Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition

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Learn About Suicide

Suicide is a major public health problem. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in 2013, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for over 41,000 deaths.

People who are suicidal may feel there's nowhere to turn, or no one or nothing can help them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Friends and loved ones of people who are suicidal may feel that there is not much they can do to help. This is also not true. Depressed people don't like to talk very much, especially about their depression, but that doesn't mean they're not looking for answers. Click here to read about the Language of Suicide.

Get the facts about suicide right here.

The Language of Suicide

In recent years, guidelines for reporting on suicide have been developed for the media. The guidelines were developed based on a recommendation from the Surgeon General's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and were created by a public and private partnership with leading government agencies and national organizations. As part of these guidelines, changes in how we describe or talk about suicide have been made.


Instead of using the phrase "commit suicide," we now say someone "died by suicide" or "completed suicide". The word "commit" connotes either a sin or crime, and a person who dies by suicide needs our compassion, not condemnation.


Also instead of describing a suicide attempt as a "failed" suicide, or "unsuccessful" suicide, the word "attempt" says it all. How can it be a failure if the person lived? In calling it "unsuccessful" or "a failure," it just gives the attempter one more thing to feel bad about at a time when they have a very low opinion of themselves anyway.


Please consider these things when talking about suicide. For more information on the media guidelines, visit either www.sprc.org or www.afsp.org.


If you have lost a loved one to suicide, please visit our After a Suicide section for more information.


To make a difference and increase awareness of suicide prevention, click here to JOIN AOASPC today!


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