Rise of suicide in winter a myth


Paige Harrison

Suicidal ideation is a common problem in the time of great stress that students face today. Sources of Strength members of Manitou Springs High School advocate for mental health. If you or anyone else seem to be in danger of losing or taking one’s life, seek help from teachers, counselors, coaches, or the sources listed below.

There is a long-standing belief that suicide completion rates rise around the holidays. According to Winchester Hospital, this could possibly be because either families get together, causing overwhelming feelings, or families stay apart, causing gloominess and feelings of loneliness.

The belief that suicide completion rises during the winter months is actually a myth.

“I can confirm suicide rates are highest in April, May [and] June. In fact, about two to three times higher than they are in December,” Gustav Moen, MSSD14 Board of Education Director and Psychotherapist, said.

The rise of suicide rates in the spring is due to a list of problems. “One thing that stands out when we look at suicide, and especially in the seasonality that we’re talking about, is a factor that is common is inflammation in the body. One correlation that’s been made is that inflammation which can be caused by allergies can cause or worsen depression,” Moen said. “So, if we’re looking at this from a seasonality perspective, some might say that…the holiday season being around family or lack of family, around the times of holidays can be very depressing and a lot of us are isolated due to the weather and such isolation be another factor that can lead to depression.”

According to American Behavior Clinics, spring brings longer days, more energy, and more inflammation. The longer days are giving people the energy that they may not have had before to complete suicide. More sunlight equals more energy and time. So the person that contemplated suicide completion through the winter, now may feel that they have the energy they need to complete.

According Holly Werstein, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, there can be signs that someone is having suicidal ideations. Werstein said,“I think any big [personality] changes in either direction [can indicate suicide ideation]. So if they are a fairly moderate person…and then they either become super risky or they become more isolated, you’ll see that shift in them.” Werstein said that a crisis, like the loss of a pet or family member can also lead to suicide ideation.

Other warning signs may include talking about feelings of hopelessness, self deprecating thoughts, increased use of drugs or alcohol, showing that they want to seek revenge, and sleeping too little or too much according to save.org.

If a person is experiencing signs and symptoms of suicide completion, there are things that may help. “So one of the biggest things is acknowledging the feeling. Ask ‘Is there something that we can do together to just fully express all of that [feeling], as opposed to this [suicidal ideations]?’” Werstein said. “Then I have this amazing passion for what the meds can do. If someone wants that, if they’re in the bottom, or they’ve tried to complete suicide multiple times, to be able to shift them and to see all the neuro chemistry get to a place where it gives them more of a buffer between feeling that way and acting on it.”

Feeling depressed or suicidal is not a sign of character weakness; there is hope for every single person said Moen.

Moen said, “…We are doing great harm, to isolate those who have these thoughts. We need to accept them, normalize them and know that most of us have had these thoughts. And so it is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something that we must pay attention to.”


Letter from the editor:

Hello readers.

I’m here to let you all know, I’m here for you. I hope you can smile and feel laughter. I hope that if you’re sad or having a rough time, you can see that it will look up for you. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many reasons to be alive and walking the earth. Stay to see another day. You are loved and appreciated. People care. If no one else, I care. It will be okay. I am here for you. Feel free to contact me at ANY time, I want you to be happy.
You matter.