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Statistics dispute suicide increase during holiday season

By Joycelyn Biggs | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | November 25, 2014


For many years, the media has reported an increase in suicides during the holiday season. However, national statistics show the opposite to be correct.

Researchers from The Annenberg Public Policy Center analyzed articles for a span of 10 years and revealed more than 30 percent of articles released information that indicated a spike in suicide.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control health statistics, suicide rates are lowest in the month of December. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states holidays have less of an effect on suicide rates.

Suicide-prevention experts advise reporting an increase in suicides during the holiday is not only incorrect, it is dangerous.

“An article that leads them to believe that it’s normal for people in their situation to end their life may be just that little nudge that puts them over,” David Litts, of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, said.

“People commit suicide because of a sense of being a burden to others, a profound sense of loneliness, alienation and isolation, and a sense of fearlessness,” according to Thomas Joiner, PhD, clinical psychologist. “There is no evidence the holiday season plays any role.”

The key to prevention is to identify people, who appear to be having those emotions and offer to help.

If an individual is active-duty military or a veteran feeling any of the symptoms listed or concerned family members/friends, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net.