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When Suicide’s NOT Suicide

By on October 27, 2014
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I’ve been giving quite some thought to this especially as we have just had mental health week and there are so many people who are at risk of harming or killing themselves through suicide.

The World Health Organisation WHO defines suicide as:

‘Suicide is the act of deliberately killing oneself. Risk factors for suicide include mental disorder (such as depression, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, or schizophrenia), and some physical illnesses, such as neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection. There are effective strategies and interventions for the prevention of suicide.’

Nowhere does it state that suicide is the act of deliberately killing oneself in order to kill others as well, which is what a ‘suicide’ attack or bombing is.

‘A suicide attack is an attack upon a target in which an attacker intends to kill others and/or cause great damage, knowing that he or she will either certainly or most likely die in the process.’

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 I find myself getting very frustrated every time the news comes on and leads with a story about a suicide bomber. We have got this all wrong.

These people are not committing suicide.

They are using their bodies as a weapon against others.

A totally different thing to the suicide that is causing such pain and health issues across countries around the globe.

The over 800,000 suicides – one every 40 seconds – that are currently happening yearly.

So when the news talks about ‘suicide’ bombers they are allowing these people to take away from society twice!!   IMG_7811 (Small)

We need to get clear on this and stop calling ‘suicide bombing’ suicide.

We need to find another word.

Let’s get creative and come up with a word that actually describes what is really happening when someone decides to ‘suicide’ bomb, because they are not taking their lives based on any of the definitions above, but because they want to hurt others.

It’s totally different!!!

In the Scandinavian countries they have over 30 words for snow because everyone knows there are so many different types of snow – the same needs to occur with this use of the word suicide – so that this horrific action of harming others no longer hi-jacks and stigmatises those people who are really grappling with suicide.

CAN YOU suggest a better term to be used so that we can put our attention back onto where it really needs to be focussed, in helping those dealing with personal suicide.

Having just worked closely with someone, who was very ready to leave life, who has since decided that she actually has a lot to offer the world by staying, I feel very frustrated at this current state of affairs.

Let’s start focussing on those who need our attention instead of those who do not.


About Trypheyna McShane

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