Mental health myth: suicides go up during winter holidays

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – There’s a long-held belief that suicide attempts go up during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but that’s a myth. Experts at ADAMHS are making sure the community is offering as many activities and resources as possible for people who may need them. It’s no time to let our guards down when it comes to recognizing mental health issues.

Even though the number of suicides actually go down this time of year, the loss of loved ones or feeling a lack of accomplishment can still lead to depression. Helen Jones-Kelley, the Executive Director of ADAMHS, says “Suicide is a hard conversation for people to have. But they have to be able to.”

Jones-Kelley says everyone should be cognizant of depression year-round. But the myth that there are more suicides during the winter holidays is simply untrue, as years of research proves. There are certain stressors unique to this time of year, but Jones-Kelley says it’s also a time of greater outreach.

“As long as there’s something to do, healthy places to go and interact with others, then we’re doing the right thing for people.”

Plenty of resources are made available, and it’s not just counseling. “I mean where are the activities that people who live alone can participate in.” Church groups, civic groups, concerts, and shared meals. All aim to maintain that human connection.

Helen Jones-Kelley says, “That’s what really helps to provide the support that reduces the level of depression and attempts at suicide that we might expect during that season.”

Jones-Kelley says something as simple as breaking a years-long routine could make a negative impact. “That makes a lot of families have to choose new traditions for how they celebrate the holidays. It could cause some concern, but it doesn’t lead to the level of depression we see come spring.”

ADAMHS offers classes to the public because as she says, everyone can have a role in saving a life.

More information from ADAMHS can be found at this link.

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