Words Matter

Our words matter. What we say can help a person have hope. Or our words can cause a person to be discouraged and lose hope – Especially, when we are talking about suicide.

Whether we are talking to someone or sharing something on social media, we want to pause and consider the impact it will have on others. We will want to use a “safety lens” through which to review our words.

One way to offer safer messaging is to focus on positive and hope-filled statements. Your message about suicide should fit your purpose and reach those you want to reach. With any message sent, your safety lens could include these thoughts: Why say it. How does it fit your mission. What objective does it meet. Who do we want to get this message. What do we want them to do.

Apply this safety lens to websites, fundraising appeals, event publicity, brochures, and social media posts. We also would apply these thoughts when reviewing posters and other educational materials. Make sure to consider safety both when creating your own messages and when sharing others’ messages, including using others’ educational materials, reposting social media, and forwarding articles.

Many safety issues occur when messages focus on the problem of suicide, rather than on what can be done about it. By including at least one of the many ways to be positive, messages can encourage action and help the public understand what prevention looks like in action.

  • Share hope.
  • Use messages to convey practical ways that individuals and organizations can support people at risk for suicide.
  • Include personal stories of coping and overcoming.
  • Offer information about available resources.
  • Equip parents with ways to listen and to talk to their children.

Learn more on this topic at Suicide Prevention Messaging: https://suicidepreventionmessaging.org/

Listen to a recent recorded webinar on this topic, by Quinn Lewandowski with UNL Public Policy Center. Go to www.fourcorners.ne.gov/resources-for-mental-wellness

Be part of the solution to share hope and support. Learn more at Four Corners Health Department. Call to schedule a talk for your organization 402-362-2621 or send email to info@fourcorners.ne.gov