Are people more likely to commit suicide during festivities?
Suicide peeking at Christmas is little more than a folk tale. If anything, suicide spikes in the spring months. It is perpetuated by media outlets and believed by many. However, this false information can lead to a “self-fulfilling” prophecy that dictates that the holidays will be stressful and that this is common place.
Where did this interpretation come from? Analysists have made a connection to certain films that air repeatedly during Christmas season. “We really don’t know, but we have speculated that the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ which has been shown over and over during the holidays, may have triggered the association between the stress of the holidays and thoughts of suicide, even in otherwise happy people,” quotes Dan Romer, a Ph.D and director of the Adolescent Communication Institute of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. December has the least amounts of suicides reported as compared to the other twelve months of the year.
Suicide may not be highest around holiday season, but depression may be. In fact those suffering from depression in certain seasons may in fact have Seasonal Affective Disorder, “SAD” for short, which is a depression that only emerges at particular months where sunlight is scarce like in winter months. Given this explanation, for some it is not the pressure of shopping for gifts but the amount of sunlight received especially around daylight saving time. This effect varies and depends on an individual’s biological response as “SAD” does not affect everyone — at least not in the same way.
Should a person exhibit suicidal behaviors, like expressing in speech or writing how they want to hurt themselves, saying they do not wish to live anymore or that they feel living is worthless for them, calling the police, sending them to the ER at a hospital or calling a suicide hotline available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255 is advised should the circumstances be extreme or at least for the sake of taking precautions to keep another from harming themselves.
Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29029231@N05/11555391366″>Feliz Natal!</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>