December 09, 2010

Holiday Suicides: Fact or Myth?

The idea that suicides occur more frequently during the holiday season is a long perpetuated myth. The Annenberg Public Policy Center has been tracking media reports on suicide since 2000. A recent analysis found that 40% of articles written during the 2008 holiday season perpetuated the myth.1

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that the suicide rate is, in fact, the lowest in December.1 The rate peaks in the spring and the fall. This pattern has not changed in recent years. The holiday suicide myth supports misinformation about suicide that might ultimately hamper prevention efforts. MFT Continuing Education
Suicide remains a major public health problem, one that occurs throughout the year. It is the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans. Each year, more than 33,000 people take their own lives.2 In addition, more than 376,000 are treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries.2

CDC works to prevent suicidal behavior before it initially occurs. Some of CDC’s activities include:

1.monitoring suicidal behavior;
2.conducting research to identify the factors that put people at risk or protect them from suicide; and
3.developing and evaluating prevention programs.

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