Tags: christmas | suicides | do | not | spike

Expert Corrects Misperception: Suicides Don't Spike at Christmas

Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 09:27 AM

By Elliot Jager

It is a myth that more people commit suicide during the Christmas holidays than other times of the year, according to Dan Romer of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

While nearly 100 people a day do take their own lives over the Christmas period this does not represent a statistical rise.

"Not only do suicides not spike during the holiday period, but the months of November, December and January typically have the lowest daily numbers of suicide during the year," Romer said citing the National Center for Health Statistics.

Spring and summer are the seasons when most suicides actually take place.

The media perpetuates the myth. Stories claiming a rise in holiday suicides far outnumber those debunking it. Almost 75 percent of 2012-2013 newspaper stories referencing suicide and Christmas incorrectly claimed a seasonal suicide increase, said Romer.

Stories about the stresses of the season can also have a negative influence on those already susceptible to suicide. There has in fact been an increase in the number of suicides of men between 35 and 64 that the Centers for Disease Control has correlated to the economic downtown, according to Forbes.

Popular culture helps perpetuate the Christmas-suicide myth.

The "holiday blues" phenomenon gets boosted anew with every repeat showing of the seasonal movie "It's a Wonderful Life," according to Romer.

An upcoming episode of "The Simpsons," to be broadcast Sunday, December 15 has the gloomy title "White Christmas Blues."

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