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Throughout the United States, individuals and organizations are stepping up to recognize September as Suicide Prevention Month.

Open discussion about suicide is critical to prevention, intervention, and postvention. How we talk about these subjects makes a difference. Here are some tips that may help when engaging in courageous conversations.

·  Avoid using judgmental language.

·  Use objective terms for suicidal events, such as “death by suicide” or “non-fatal attempt.”

·  Avoid using the words "commit” or “complete” suicide. The phrase "committed suicide" is usually associated where suicide is considered a sin or a crime, which suicide is neither. Using the words "completed suicide" conveys success or accomplishing something good, which suicide is not. The proper term for someone who has taken their own life is "died by suicide." Also acceptable is "killed him/herself” or "took their own life."

· Avoid presenting suicide as an inevitable event or oversimplying the cause.

· Avoid glamorizing deaths by suicide.

· When discussing the frequency of suicide, always emphasize the importance of every single life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

Excerpted from Suicide Prevention Month 2019, Jana Marie Foundation, Prevent Suicide PA, Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services, Suicide Prevention in PA Colleges and Schools

Image of Suicide Prevention Hotline