Terminology is just as much a part of the suicide debate as the statistics.
Terminology may be seen as ‘political correctness’. It’s not, it’s just plain, factual correctness, and that really matters.
It is an amazing thing worth celebrating that (male) suicide is being discussed both in parliament for the first time, but it is a shame when it is being led by a man who rolls his eyes when confronted by this:
“No-one in this country “committed suicide” since 1961 – that’s when suicide stopped being a crime.”
She is right, but aside from what Madeleine Moon MP said, a pattern emerged during this debate; pretty much any point raised by a woman was dismissed by Philip Davies MP. He told the her that she was being politically correct and that no member of the public is bothered about the terminology used when discussing suicide.
If a person is passionate enough to bring a debate on suicide to Parliament, surely they should have done their homework?
The Suicide Act 1961 stated clearly that a person who takes their own life is NOT committing a crime. The debate on terminology should have started then, but unfortunately the term “commit suicide” continues to be used widely. However, many charities and campaigners for better awareness of mental health issues know that the language we use has a massive impact on all those who are directly affected by suicide.
The word ‘commit’ implies crime and wrong-doing which only adds to the feelings of loneliness and segregation. By continuing to use this incorrect terminology only perpetuates the stigma that we are collectively trying to reduce.
If you are going to debate something as serious as suicide, listen to the people who know what they are talking about.