What are seasonal variances in suicide?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Most suicides occur in the spring; the month of May particularly has been noted for its high rate of suicide. The speculation is that during the winter and early spring, people with depression are often surrounded by persons who are feeling downhearted because of the weather. However, with the arrival of the spring season and the month of May, people who are depressed because of the weather are cheered and people who are depressed for other reasons remain depressed. As others cheer up, those who remain miserable must confront their own unhappiness.

A report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania reported December 4, 2012 on the common misperception that year-end holidays are a more frequent period for suicides compared with other times of the year. The APPC tracked press reports on this belief and compared them with the number of actual daily suicide deaths in the United States. It was determined that compared with other timeframes, the period from November to January typically has the lowest daily rates of suicide for the year. The APPC suggests that the belief that year-end seasonal holidays prompt increased suicide rates is simply a “myth.” [102]


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