No, suicides don’t rise during the holidays

December 18, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Atlantic

Data from the CDC shows that the commonly heard statement about suicides increasing during the holidays is not true, despite the many media stories that follow this narrative. The number of suicides is actually lowest in November and December. Suicides tend to increase in the spring and summer, possibly because the warm weather may give people more energy to attempt suicide.  According to Christine Moutier, a psychiatrist and the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the stress that people associate with the holidays does not typically trigger suicide. Although some people may feel down or lonely during the holiday season, that is not enough to make them take their lives. Key factors associated with suicide are mental illness in the majority of cases, as well as family history of suicide, trauma, and access to guns.

Spark Extra! Read this new analysis by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which showed a decline in the persistence of the myth.