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Taking Questions

What is the best language to use when talking about suicide?

The words we choose can sometimes sound harsh or judgmental, even when we don't mean them to. It is best to follow the lead of those who have been affected by suicide when talking about this sensitive subject. Although we may hear that someone has "committed suicide," most people find "died by suicide" to be more objective and less judgmental. The term "suicide" is best used to describe the act, but not the person who died in that way. Nobody wants to hear their loved one's life summed up by the circumstances of their death. It is generally accepted to refer to "someone who died by suicide" with those words, or as a "suicide decedent." The term "successful suicide" can be hurtful and jarring; a suicide is never a success.

Question and answer taken from the website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/frequently-asked-questions.

Suggested questions for future editions can be sent to goodmourning@archildrens.org (please put "Taking Questions" in the subject line).

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