Nothing sporting about ‘suicide’ remarks

Sir,

The North West Bereaved by Suicide support group meets twice monthly. The group has existed for almost ten years. We have discussions and support each other in our loss. The guilt and grief of having lost a loved one, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister to suicide is always with us. We all recognize that our loved ones took their own lives, they died by suicide.

Suicide was decriminalzed in the UK in the late sixties, in Ireland in the early nineties. It is distressing to hear the phrases, ‘committed suicide’ and ‘suicidal’. so freely and regularly used in the media. We find these remarks, when used in a political or sporting context, very offensive and hurtful. Our loved ones did not commit a crime, did not commit a burglary, did not commit adultery. They took their own lives. We seek to educate and inform people about suicide and the deep feelings of grief and guilt it arouses among those left behind.

In his regular Friday column in the Journal lately, commenting on the demise of football grounds, Eddie Mahon described their passing as ‘suicidal’. We are very unhappy with the use of this phrase.

We ask the Journal to support our group in educating others about the hurt of such remarks. We would also ask people to indicate our views to anyone, on radio or television or in the press, using these terms in an offensive way.

Yours,

Danny Kelly,

Secretary,

North West Bereaved by Suicide Support Group