Why it’s a problem: There is a lot of good advice in this article from CNN, namely that we need to stop criminalizing suicidal people, and part of that effort will come from being more thoughtful about the language we use when talking about suicide. But it’s unfortunate then, that the following sentence made it into the article: “Stigmatizing language about suicide can also cement ideas that people who attempted or died by suicide, when compared with everyone else, are broken, disabled, less than or different in some way, experts said.” I come across these kinds of statements a lot: “Not all suicidal people are crazy;” or “Not all homeless people are mentally ill.” As if disability and mental illness are the absolute worst things. Destigmatization is not a zero sum game, and we don’t need to stigmatize one group in order to destigmatize another.


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