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Tool One: Language Guide

The language we use to talk about suicide and mental illness can contribute to stigma and alienate members of the community.

The National Communications Charter has developed a number of tools in the form of a series of language guides to support individuals, workplaces and communities.

By following the preferred language guidelines everyone can play a role in helping to reduce stigma and increase help seeking behaviour.

Language around mental illness

There are a range of mental illnesses and each individual's experience of mental illness is varied and complex.

This one of multiple reasons why it is important to avoid using stigmatising language which may polarise,stereotype or alienate individuals or groups of individuals.

The Charter is supporting workplaces, communities and individuals to use of inclusive, safe and positive language around mental illness through the development of the language guide outlined below.

Language around suicide

Suicide is a public health issue that affects individuals, families, workplaces and communities across Australia.

It is an important issue of community concern and needs to be discussed. However, there is often confusion about what is meant by “discussing” or “talking about” suicide, and confusion about the evidence.

The Charter is a document designed to guide the way organisations talk about mental health and suicide prevention, with each other and with the community.

It serves as a formal commitment to working together and developing better structures and processes for collaboration.

Please consider the following guidelines when considering a discussion around suicide.