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PRINTER'S NO. 2111
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE RESOLUTION
No.
399
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY O'MARA, CALTAGIRONE, JOHNSON-HARRELL, FRANKEL,
WILLIAMS, SANCHEZ, RABB, KENYATTA, HILL-EVANS, NEILSON,
SCHLOSSBERG, McCLINTON, T. DAVIS, KINSEY, MADDEN, OTTEN,
SCHWEYER, KORTZ, YOUNGBLOOD AND GILLEN, JUNE 12, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES, JUNE 12, 2019
A RESOLUTION
Urging the Commonwealth to adopt and utilize sensitive language
related to suicide.
WHEREAS, Suicide is defined as someone taking his or her own
life with conscious intent by lethal means such as a firearm,
poisoning, suffocation or other self-injury; and
WHEREAS, Approximately 1,970 Pennsylvanians die by suicide
each year; and
WHEREAS, The suicide rate in Pennsylvania increased by 34%
between 1999 and 2016; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania's suicide rate of 16.3 per 100,000
people is higher than the national average of 15.4 per 100,000
people; and
WHEREAS, Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in
Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, Suicide is the second leading cause of death for
individuals from 15 to 34 years of age in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for
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individuals from 35 to 54 years of age in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for
individuals from 55 to 64 years of age in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, Suicide is the 17th leading cause of death for
individuals 65 years of age or older in Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, Nearly three times as many individuals die by
suicide in Pennsylvania annually than by homicide; and
WHEREAS, The total deaths to suicide reflect a total of
37,335 years of potential life lost before 65 years of age; and
WHEREAS, Due to the stigma, it is suspected that suicide
generally is underreported; and
WHEREAS, Prevention, education, advocacy, public policy and
community support are keys to addressing suicide stigma; and
WHEREAS, The sensitive use of suicide-related language is
also essential to eliminating suicide stigma; and
WHEREAS, The term "committed suicide" implies a level of
criminality while "completed suicide" implies earlier attempts
when there may have been none; and
WHEREAS, Both terms perpetuate the stigma associated with
suicide and are strongly discouraged; and
WHEREAS, Using the word "successful" or "failed" to describe
suicide is also discouraged; and
WHEREAS, "Died by suicide" or "died of suicide" as well as
"suicide death" and "fatal suicide behavior" are recommended
language; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives urge the
Commonwealth to adopt and utilize recommended language related
to suicide; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives urge adoption and
utilization of recommended language related to suicide by
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executive branch agencies and the judiciary in regulations,
policies, reports and other documents in print or electronic
format; and be it further
RESOLVED, That, for purposes of this resolution, recommended
language related to suicide means language that does not
perpetuate the stigma of suicide or imply criminality when
reporting a death by suicide; and be it further
RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to
the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court, each Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the
court's officers and administrators.
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