Commit suicide? Watch your language

Speaking of suicide again, have you thought about the way we talk about it? We say commit suicide. I have done it too.

One of my students in an online discussion raised this excellent point regarding the way we frame people into conditions through the use of our language. I want to quote her here, “saying a person committed suicide implies criminality or moral failing.”

Words have power

Have you thought when we say ‘obese children’ what does it imply? There is a victim-blaming tone in the language.

In a different level, we use the terms addict, disabled, autistic and many more to refer to people with those conditions.


So what is the right language? The right language is to say ‘people who die by suicide, people who attempt suicide, children with obesity, people with autism, disability and addiction.

Let’s differentiate between people and the disease or conditions attached to them. Let’s not degrade people into diseases and conditions. The language we use have strong implications, let’s be aware of it and try to use a better language, kind and humane.


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