Suicide has been a global concern for centuries. With suicide rates increasing year after year, everybody must be informed about the negative effects certain words have on people who feel suicidal or have experienced suicide. Language commonly used when speaking about suicide can come across as judgmental, even when not intended to be. 

It has become normal in society for individuals to joke about suicide. Suicide is not and should never be a laughing matter. When someone fails their math test and says, “I am going to kill myself,” or mimics a gun to their head after hearing they cannot hang out with their friends can be seen as a joke to many; but to others, some may laugh in the moment to cover up their real emotions, but in reality, they are genuinely upset. Some may think, “I’m with my friends, why should it matter?” 

According to The Jason Foundation, suicide is the second leading cause of death between the ages of 12-18. Additionally, around 3,703 suicide attempts are being made each day, by high schoolers. It is important, now more than ever, that we acknowledge this matter before more concerns arise. No matter the company, joking about suicide can always leave a negative impact on any individual. By simply not making a joke, it makes it a little bit easier for anyone struggling to feel safe when being out of the house.

Suicide is a very sensitive topic, and many people may not be comfortable talking about it. If someone has passed away, giving condolences and support can significantly impact an individual’s life. Knowing the right thing to say is crucial when dealing with such a serious matter. The once widely accepted phrase, ‘committed suicide’, can be seen as ignorant, or out-of-date. Society often connects the word, ‘commit’ with a crime, like ‘committing murder’, but when someone makes the act of suicide, it should not imply that they are committing a crime. 

Instead, by taking a few moments to think and re-word the once-popular phrase, the immense amount of pain someone might be in could be reduced. Alternative terminology that people can use instead of ‘committed,’ can be ‘died by’, ‘completed’ or ‘lost their battle to’ when referring to suicide. By working around the phrase, it can eliminate assumptions or judgments that were associated with it and causes a more supportive environment for all to live by. 

It was expressed by the American Psychological Association that one in five teenagers consider suicide. Out of those teens, four out of five show clear warning signs that signal help. Being educated about the signs of suicide can prepare the public and help ensure that suicide victims do not go unnoticed. Possible suicide signs are portrayed as isolation, being a burden towards others, heightening emotions, behaving carelessly and a decline in academics. There are numerous ways to help those who are struggling. One main effort we can do to help is by putting trust in our instincts and reaching out to those we believe need help. Suicide is a serious issue. The quicker an action is done; the quicker people can get the help they need. 

The foolishness needs to stop. It’s time that we step up and do our part in helping our loved ones. Whether you’re going out of your way to compliment a stranger, or checking up on your friend, showing that you care impacts others in more ways than one. We need to take note of people’s feelings and recognize the influence words have on us before another victim takes their life.