The Language of Suicide

The Language of Suicide

Thank you to Chris LaForge, Gayle Vincent, and the other members of the suicide prevention team at Alberta Health Services/Alberta Mental Health Board, for the brochure: What’s in a Word. It can be found at their website, (in the upper lefthand side of the website homepage, type in What’s In a Word in the website search box and hit enter).

Gayle writes:

As we all know, World Suicide Prevention Day is fast approaching, and I am excited to learn of the growing numbers of events taking place across Canada on that day. We are all helping to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention, to have our individual and collective voices heard from coast to coast to coast. I feel honoured and humbled to be part of this effort.

In recent years, the suicide prevention team of Alberta Health Services/Alberta Mental Health Board has watched and listened very closely to the wisdom of survivors. One of the very important things we heard clearly from many survivors across Canada is the need to help change the language we use in writing and speaking about suicide.

To support the effort of many of you to change the language used to describe a suicide death, and to help affect that change here in Alberta, we developed a brochure called “WHAT’S IN A WORD? The Language of Suicide”.

On World Suicide Prevention Day 2007, this brochure was sent to communications departments in all health regions and all provincial government ministries in Alberta, to the Alberta Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee and to other contacts across the province. We have used it as a tool with evaluation teams and others in Alberta who are writing or speaking about suicide, to help them use the language that is most current, most clear, and hopefully most supportive to people who are grieving the suicide death of someone they care about.

The members of Alberta’s Suicide Prevention Team give you permission to share this Brochure with media, and other interested parties.


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