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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2021 02:59 PM
From: Representative Jennifer O'Mara
To: All House members
Subject: Sensitive Language Related to Suicide
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, with an average of 2,000 people in our state losing their lives every year. From 1999 to 2018, the suicide rate increased 37% with nearly two and a half times as many Pennsylvanians dying from suicide than by homicide.
These numbers may underestimate the true loss of life. Due to the stigma associated with suicide, many experts believe that suicide is underreported. In order to reduce the stigma as well as to reduce the rates of suicide, it is important to use sensitive language when discussing suicides.
For this reason, I will be introducing a resolution to urge the use of terms such as “died by suicide” and “fatal suicide behavior” instead of terms such as “committed suicide,” “completed suicide,” and using the words “successful” or “failed” when describing suicide attempts.
Please join me in reducing the stigma associated with suicide as we work to save our loved ones’ lives.

Introduced as HR122