Suicide is not a crime

Ending your own life has not been a crime in the UK since 1961 when The Suicide Act was passed meaning that those who attempted but failed to take their own life would no longer be prosecuted. The term “committing suicide” has remained however and I believe that this is part of the problem. The connotation of this term implies that the person ending their life is doing something illegal or shameful and in the normal use of the word would also warrant punishment for their actions.

Would you really want to punish someone who is mentally ill?

People choose to end their life because they are in an unimaginable amount of pain and do not see an end to their suffering.

The continued use of an out of date term, in my honest opinion, is holding the mental health community back as we strive for more understanding. If we shifted our speech and instead used words such as “completed suicide” or “ended their own life” it could pave the way for the beginning of a more informed public attitude towards suicide and mental health as well as encouraging the bereaved families to seek the help they so desperately need.

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