Far be it from me –

Emma Nielsen – Mind your ‘C’s and ‘S’s: The Language of Self-harm and Suicide (and why it matters)

on September 10, 2016

IMH Blog (Nottingham)

We all say things that we don’t mean sometimes. Perhaps the time that you snapped at the end of a long day or said that deliberately hurtful comment in the heat of an argument. Sometimes these instances are easily recognisable (perhaps easily apologised for). However, often our language conveys more subtle messages as well. Even everyday expressions may carry connotations we have not considered and speak to ideas we don’t condone. The words we use when we talk about self-harm and suicide show just that; while our language can convey compassion, provide hope, empowerment and optimism, we can also unwittingly express messages that divide and stigmatise.

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I’m definitely guilty of this – while I may not like to admit it, my undergraduate notes are littered with phrases that now make me uneasy. Far from meaning to be impertinent, I was passionate about battling the silence and taboo surrounding mental health…

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