Change the name of International Survivors of Suicide Day to International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
This petition made change with 101 supporters!
The family and friends of someone who died of cancer would never be identified as survivors of cancer. Only those who recovered from the life-threatening illness can claim to proudly call themselves survivors. Similarly, those victimized by abuse are survivors - not their social circle. Why should it be different with suicide? Identifying non-survivors as survivors is offensive.
As a suicide attempt survivor and mental health writer and advocate, I know the importance of accurate language. Inaccuracy causes confusion, and makes it difficult for attempt survivors to find appropriate information, supports, and resources. We must correct the false identification of the bereaved as survivors in order to illuminate the plight and triumphs of those who recovered from suicide attempts, or who may be still experiencing suicidality, and to make it easier for them to find and access care.
By inaccurately identifying the bereaved as survivors of suicide, those who actually survived suicide - attempt survivors and those who have experienced suicidal thoughts - are excluded from public awareness, events, and fundraising for treatment services. It further marginalizes and stigmatizes those who most need support and awareness in the community and in the media. It also channels scarce funding into programs for the bereaved instead of resources and supports for suicide attempt survivors who are at high risk of completing another attempt, but remain nearly invisible while the bereaved get massive publicity.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a leader in their field, responsible for many public events, support groups, and the dissemination of information. It's time they stood up as an example of best practices and respect the people they exist to protect: those with lived experience of suicidality. Please change "survivors of suicide" to "survivors of suicide loss" or "the bereaved" in all your information, events, and programs.
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