Christmas blues. Holiday depression. According to studies, these ideas are mostly a myth. According to statistics collected from the National Center for Health Statistics that has tracked suicides on specific holidays since the 1970s, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve ranked below the national average of suicides per million people in the United States. New Year’s Day was the only day that saw an above-average number. According to national statistics, there is an average of 34 suicides per million people on average day in the U.S. On New Year’s Day, that average rose to 41. Some researchers believe the jump occurs because New Year’s Day is the end of holiday season, and people get depressed at the prospect of returning to work and everyday life. In the State of Illinois, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average 1 person dies by suicide every 6 hours in the state.
AFSP suggests that families struggling with the loss of a family member to consider family traditions over the holidays by either keeping old ones or starting new ones; communicate to others about the holidays and the anxiety leading up to it; take a break from holiday events or consider traveling or volunteering during the holiday season; and to practice healthy self-care.
If you or someone you know may be in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or the text line by texting TALK to 741741.