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Banishing the ‘C’ word from suicide

Banishing the ‘C’ word from suicide

“Suicide is not a sin and is no longer a crime, so we should stop saying that people ‘commit’ suicide.”

That message from Beyond Blue advisers was explored by Fraser Coast expert Dr Dorothy Ratnarajah when she presented a counselling workshop at USQ Fraser Coast in July 2013.

Dr Ratnarajah, a clinical counsellor with 14 years’ higher degree research experience in suicide bereavement, said suicide was a cause of death yet people never said someone “committed cancer” or “committed heart failure”, even when those affected may have lived lifestyles that contributed to such diseases (for example, smoking or having a high-fat diet).suicide

“Even suggesting they ‘committed’ such diseases sounds ludicrous and yet every day we see such examples in relation to suicide. So, let us commit to being vigilant and challenge the use of stigmatising language whenever we hear it used in connection with suicide.”

Instead of “committed suicide,” people should say  “died by suicide.”

USQ Lecturer and counsellor Nathan Beel said banishing the ‘C’ word was discussed along with myths and truths when Ms Ratnarajah presented the workshop for Fraser Coast human service providers and university students.

“Attendees gained an increased awareness of the risk factors and prevention strategies based on the research of leading expert Professor Thomas Joiner,” Mr Beel said.

For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or

For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or at

The SANE Helpline is 1800 18 SANE (7263) or at 


FEATURE PHOTO: Eleasha Mitchell (left), Marianne Lawson, Rhiannon Beard attend a workshop run by Dr Dorothy Ratnarajah and USQ lecturer and counsellor Nathan Beel.

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