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More Ho Ho Ho Than Sorrow?

Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D. Updated: Dec 20th 2007

Did you know that the number of individuals committing suicide actually decreases during the Christmas season across the world? Research suggests that suicide rates for all individuals, regardless of age, ethnicity, marital status, or other factors, decreases by up to 40% prior to, during and immediately after Christmas. This dip in suicides seems to hold steady through New Year's Day.

It is not entirely clear why suicide rates drop during the holidays, but experts point to several factors which may be protective:

  1. having friends or family around can decrease a sense of isolation, and decrease opportunities to engage in self-harm behavior
  2. people often receive more social and material (e.g., food, gifts, financial assistance) support from friends or others (e.g., church/synagogue communities, etc) in their community during this season

  3. an increased likelihood of being altruistic and focused on others during this season can boost mood and self-esteem, and decrease suicidal thoughts and feelings

  4. holiday rituals can add a sense of meaning, belongingness and hopefulness which can decrease suicidality. In addition, rituals can evoke positive memories, which can also boost mood.

Even though the above statistic challenges the popularly held myth that the holidays cause a spike in suicides, this time still may be difficult for some people. Holidays may trigger stress, create financial upheaval, reignite (or start) family conflicts, or trigger a sense of loss and loneliness. We know that any one or all of these factors can be overwhelming, and cause a worsening in mental health and/or mood. For more information on how to handle stress, click here: /poc/view_index.php?idx=119&d=1&w=6&e=322

Or, visit our online self-help book for more tips, by clicking here: http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/center_index.php?id=353&cn=353

For more information about how to cope with feeling suicidal, please click here: /poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=13754&cn=9

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    i say why to do it - ehsan - Jul 24th 2008

    hi

    my name is ehsan

    i live in iran i am 22 years old.i am a english literature student but my english is not good so if i have grammtical and spelling mistake i make excuses before you read the main article.

    i think you do not think about the world that near you in east of the world in our mind in our socityin our problems in out tears.do you know our trouble in life.

    i commite suicide onc.i feel freedom.do you know why.

    imagine after 23 years day and night ffight with father maother school passing the exam of entering university.lost  the love with all your dreams for many times.start again fot twicw you fell down for thirth 4th 5th

    untill when where what time

    i can just one time free and choose my way when i did it.whit this i can pass all the problems for one time i can pass the fate.give my life from nature.i am not alive for eating day and night medicine and drugs.see nightmare and with cry and scream wake -up.if these actions call life i do not want this.one of my firend did it and now i feel his sprit is now free he said to me.i will follow him and join to him.i try all ways everybody say to me.i am at end.there is nothing espial left in world for me i see al pleasure that could happen in our country.

    do not entrupt people that can find the way of freedom.

    you must sure that if someone want do it surely he or she do it.

    i do not know where i must say my words and article i put it here.please don not remove it.

    bye 

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