Advocate pushes for changing language around suicide

By Pratham Dalal
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 5:12pm

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Age-adjusted suicide mortality ratesa , Arizona versus United States, 2009-2019
Arizona Department of Health Services

Suicide has garnered a lot of attention after COVID-19 isolated some people starting with March 2020 lockdowns. In July, the National Institute of Health and Human Services switched the Suicide and Crisis hotline number to 988 from its longer number.

Experts say the number has made conversation surrounding suicide more accessible. Since 2000, the suicide rate has jumped more than 30%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people ages 10-34 are more likely to die by suicide.

Kevin Hines is a suicide prevention advocate who leapt from the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000 before being saved by a sealion in the water below. He says society needs to change the language surrounding suicides.

“We need to change the language from committing to died by suicide or attempting to die by suicide because no one is committing a crime, although it used to be one, no one is committing adultery no one is committing anything here. They are dying by suicide just like they would die of any other organ disease," Hines says. 

He adds, “I would say the awareness levels have risen immensely and that more people are willing to tell the truth about their brain pain and their suicidal ideations but I would also say that there are a great amount of people who discriminate against those who struggle this way.”

Hines says people are not honest about their mental illness because of the negative connotation the word mental has in our society. Hines will be speaking at an event in Tucson on Sept. 9. The crowd will receive a free screening of his documentary "Suicide: The Ripple Effect."

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, there is help. Contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 (en Español, llame al 988, prensa 2; for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, dial 711 then 988). You may also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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