Do suicides spike during the holidays? The answer may surprise you...

During which months of the year do you think suicides are most prevalent?

Contrary to popular belief, suicide attempts actually drop during the holidays. The lower suicide rates are thought to be linked to increased family time and support during this time of year.

According to Psychology Today, there were over 38,000 suicides in the U.S. in 2010, making it the 12th leading cause of death. To put this in perspective, more people died from suicide than automobile accidents. While ephemeral thoughts of suicide are common in many people, suicide threats often go ignored. Suicide is often associated with depression, which is, of course, treatable.

I've read one too many stories of people whose suicide threats fell on deaf ears. In other cases, people stop short of making actual threats, but they show various signs of depression -- from loss of appetite to incessant crying -- that propel them to do the unthinkable.

It's imperative that anyone with thoughts of suicide be taken seriously. Do not assume that these individuals are merely seeking attention or going through a brief rough patch. If you know someone in this situation, encourage them to get help immediately. Work with their spouse, parents, or other loved ones to get the care they need.

Have you ever met someone who committed suicide?  If not, what's your take on the high number of suicides carried out each year?

Please comment on this post, then read and weigh in on others that you can find here: How to Understand People


Megan M said...

Sadly, but yes. I think suicide tends to be on a increase during the holiday.

How to Understand People said...

Hi Megan. As the post points out, it's actually the opposite. Suicide rates drop during holidays, presumably because people tend to get more support from loved ones during that time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think depression is necessarily "treatable," as you mentioned.. Although suicidal thoughts and attempts can be greatly reduced by a good support system. Just knowing someone loves and cares about you, or even someone depending on you ( like children or pets) can remind someone in depression that they have a purpose. Which is probably why suicide rates are lower during these family holiday months