Most people have heard that suicide rates are highest over the holiday season- but is that really true?  The fact is, this is a persistent myth.  The Annenberg Public Policy Center has been tracking media reports on suicide since 2000. A recent analysis found that 50% of articles written during the 2009–2010 holiday season perpetuated the myth.  Actually the holiday season has the lowest suicide rate of any time of year, not the highest.  The highest suicide rates actually occur during the spring and summer.

Suicide is a major public health problem that occurs throughout the year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans.

Where does this myth come from?  We really aren’t sure.  But I appreciate media outlets such as KGAN, who recently spoke with Foundation 2 staff to report accurate information about suicide rates over the holidays.  You can read that interview at the end of this blog.

The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people.  There is pressure to do more and give more.  People tend to eat and drink more and sleep less.  This is also during a time when Iowans are adjusting to less daylight.  Although many people feel tired and stressed out during the holidays, this is often balanced with increased emotional support and feelings of connectedness from friends and family.

It would be wonderful if that “holiday feeling” continued throughout the year.  What if we connected with friends and family during the spring and summer months as well?

If you or someone you know is dealing with seasonal depression or having thoughts of suicide, Foundation 2 can help.  Please call our 24-hour crisis hotline at (319) 362-2174 or 1800-332-4224.  You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1877-273-TALK (8255).

From KGAN:

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) — “Christmas is here, Christmas is here, fa la la, fa la la.”

For the Target lady the holiday season is just one lovely song “You see the commercials, the holiday commercials and it makes it look like it’s all warm and fuzzy, for a lot of people it is not like that,” says Cheryl Plotz.

Foundation 2 in Cedar Rapids is handling the thousand of not so pleasant calls from Linn County resident who’s holiday season might be filled with loneliness and aniexty.

“Although seasonal depression still occurs, the suicide rate for people is actually decreased during the holiday season,” says Elisabeth Kissling.

For years suicide prevention workers say there’s been an ongoing myth that more people actually go through with suicide during winter holiday months.

“Based on Foundation 2’s data we have a much higher rate of calls related to suicide attempts and suicide risk factors during the spring and summer months,” Kissling said.

However, what these workers are finding is more Corridor cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“It’s just after 5 o’clock here in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday evening, and take the sun already setting off in the distance behind me, and according to some over at Foundation 2, that setting sun could be the reason for your seasonal depression”

“It’s related to a depression that comes upon people generally upon the winter months because of the lack of sunlight,” Plotz said.

There’s not rule book on how to rid yourself or a loved one of seaonsol affective disorder, but when the sun isn’t shining so bright

Maybe a simple phone call to one of the trained crisis workers will help you see the silver lining in what could only be a temporary dark cloud.

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