Suicide-appropriate language

first_imgDear Editor,Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle was recently quoted in the media as stating that persons “successfully commit suicide” when they feel disconnected and depressed, feel no strong social ties and inadequate social support to face another day and have hope. While The Caribbean Voice (TCV) has no issue with the reasons given for suicide— although they are neither contextualised nor comprehensive— we take serious issue with the use of the terms ‘successfully’ and ‘commit’ to refer to suicide.As TCV has continually pointed out, the push for suicide-appropriate language is gathering momentum globally and thus, we are rather disappointed that leading officials within the Ministry of Health continue to propagate terminology that have been debunked for obvious reasons, especially when one would think that these officials should be in the forefront of requisite change.For one, how can killing oneself be a success? Just what is successful about such an act, teeming with agony and pain for both victims and survivors? Second, the word ‘commit’ connotes something criminal. And although attempting suicide is still a criminal act on the books in Guyana (because of political gamesmanship), there is nothing criminal about the act of suicide. Suicide is attempted when the pain becomes unbearable for the victim and those who survive such attempts have always revealed that they never wanted to die; they just wanted the pain to end. How then is it a criminal act to want one’s pain to end?Sincerely,The Caribbean Voicelast_img read more