As the winter holidays come to an end, people reflect on the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with them. Thinking of that warm cup of peppermint hot chocolate, those beautiful lights up on Christmas Card Lane, Love Actually on repeat- one would wonder when things could ever be better.
In fact, this time of the year, despite popular belief, is the best time of the year, at least in the case of suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rate is lowest in November and December. However, many believe the rate dramatically increases during the holidays, due to false publicity by movies, shows, and the internet.
One of the leading factors thought to be encouraging this myth is the Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, in which character George Bailey contemplates suicide around the holidays.
The holidays can be a stressful time. The in-laws are coming, Mom is expected to cook for 40, and worst of all- cousin Kate is sleeping in your bed, leaving you on the floor. Articles on Facebook assure mothers everywhere that no, they are not alone. These articles claim that everyone is stressed, there are 100 secrets to cooking a quick and delicious meal, and oh, by the way, the suicide rate is up right now, so don’t worry, you could have it worse! This is simply a lie. (There are only 97 secrets to cooking a quick and delicious meal)
The suicide rate tends to spike during springtime. The Atlantic states that because warm weather is activating, suicidal people are more likely to take their life during this time, a time of prosperity for many others.
One could argue that the loneliness of the holidays for some could push them over the edge. However, the feeling of protection from family members and the hope of a new year, to so many across the country, prevents them from taking their life.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255, or chat with a person online with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.