Stop using the term “suicide prevention”

“This term is a blatant lie, bandage and misnomer.”


This is in response to the article “Nunavik community coping with high number of suicides, grief,” Oct. 11.

I write this as mother of our wonderful, amazing 23-year-old son Scott, who completed his life journey by his choice and manner (suicide, September 2004).

I totally and utterly disagree with the term “suicide prevention.”

I have been educating and teaching others over the last 14 years about the difference and distinction of these words and the impact they create on those of us left behind.

This term is a blatant lie, bandage and misnomer.

By definition and virtue of the word “prevention,” we are being told we are guilty of not saving our loved ones! Yet again we are being victimized and tortured by the term “prevention,” leading to what-ifs and maybes.

Those who so freely throw the term around should be made aware of its power and the negative impact it creates in those who are grieving and who are existing in this pain and forever will be until their final breath.

“Suicide awareness” is the true definition and terminology that should be utilized when dealing with this crisis. To say otherwise is unjust, cruel, ignorant, arrogant, self-serving, inhumane and, yes, even profitable.

Consider the financial aspect of organizations who trumpet this term. This has become an extremely profitable business built on the tears and heartbreak of we who have and are enveloped in this pain and agony called grief, which is now our new normal.

The financial gains are immense while placating some and labelling others.

Burying your child is not something any parent should have to go through the torture of. However, we know it exists on a daily basis within our culture.

No Shame, No Blame: this is the phrase I introduced while a sitting member of the board of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

This needs to be repeated over and over until we cease blaming those who chose this way to finish their journey and for those of us left behind.

The methodology our son Scott chose has not and never will tarnish him, his memory or the handsome, gifted, educated loved young man he was and forever continues to be in our hearts and memories.

Choose the words wisely. They leave scars on our hearts and souls as much as the committed act itself. How many have followed the same path as their loved ones because of such phrases?

Together we are all part of the solution, we just need to seek it in transparency, ownership and honesty.

Anna-Marie Cartwright

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