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How to talk about Grassroots Suicide Prevention

How to talk about us

Below is some information about what we do at Grassroots Suicide Prevention.

Use this info for fundraising pages, Facebook posts, messages to friends and any other situation where someone asks what we do as a charity.

Scroll down for a language guide so you can learn which words to avoid and how to talk about suicide safely.

Woman Speaking At Support Group Meeting For Mental Health Or Dependency Issues In Community Space

What to say about Grassroots Suicide Prevention

Don’t forget! We are Grassroots Suicide Prevention, not just Grassroots. 

As one of our fundraisers, you are fundraising ‘in aid of’ or ‘for’ Grassroots Suicide Prevention. 

Why does suicide matter?

People select charities to fundraise for based on lots of different criteria. When you talk about GSP, it is important to explain why suicide is an urgent issue: 

  • One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds globally
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in the UK for people under the age of 35
  • Over 200 schoolchildren die by suicide every year in the UK
  • One in five people contemplate suicide in their lifetime
  • Find more stats here

If your community can relate to suicide, your words can be even more powerful. It might also help to include a statistic about your local area from the ONS website

For example:
The Northeast is the worst place in England for suicide deaths, per population. Approximately one person will die in the Northeast every day from suicide. Young men are still the most at risk, but numbers are rising in women and young children. 

Five important things to get across when talking about suicide

  1. Most suicides are preventable with timely intervention
  2. Most people who think about suicide want their pain to end, not their lives
  3. Thinking about suicide is common – 1 in 5 people will have these thoughts at some point in their life
  4. People can recover from thoughts of suicide
  5. Suicide is rarely caused by one thing, it is very complex. It can be a combination of factors, like mental health issues, divorce, money worries and bullying.

Talking about suicide or asking about suicide does not encourage people to take their lives. Please remember that talking about methods and locations is not safe.

Talk about suicide safely

Talking and writing about suicide can be difficult, please read this short guide on words and details to avoid when you discuss our work with other people.

The language below helps to protect vulnerable people from reading things which may be triggering as well as contributing to a wider change in the language we use around suicide. 

No thank you Yes please Why?
Commit suicide
Successful suicide
Died by suicide
Ended their life
Associates suicide with crime/sin
Implies you can 'succeed' which is a positive word
They were suicidal
They experienced suicidal thoughts/suicidal ideation
Avoids reducing a person to a negative characteristic
Experiencing something is different from it being your identity
Unsuccessful/successful suicide
Made an attempt on their life
Made a non-fatal attempt to take their life
Presents suicide as a desired outcome
Suicide epidemic
Spread/wave of suicides
Increase/rise in suicide rate
Glamorises suicide
Suicides can happen this way as bereaved people are more at risk, attention should be diverted away from this
Died instantly
Quick, painless death
Do not include these details
Promotes the idea of a fast solution to suicidal feelings
A cry for help
A suicide attempt
Unhelpful phrasing - all suicide attempts should be taken seriously
Iconic spot
Suicide hotspot
Do not include these details
Avoid information on methods or locations
A suicide-prone person
A jumper
A suicide tourist
A victim
A person at risk of suicide
Reduces a person to a tragic death
Suicidal ideation is 'attention-seeking'
Do not use these words
Telling someone they are 'attention-seeking' comes with negative connotations and could reinforce that their problems don't matter or that nobody cares, which is not true
Suicide can be 'cured' or 'solved'
Suicide has many causes and factors unique to each person
Suicide should not be framed as a 'problem' or 'illness' with one 'cure' - this is not the reality for many people
Suicide is 'selfish'
Do not use these words
There is nothing 'selfish' about struggling with thoughts, feelings or situations that are causing pain or distress

Further resources on statistics, myths, warning signs and how to talk about suicide can be found here. 

Did you know 1 in 5 people will have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives?

With your generosity, we can help people stay safe and provide the support they need in times of crisis