Christmas and suicide not related, recession is!
It is often thought that over the holiday Christmas and New Year period that the rate of despair through suicide and attempted suicide increases dramatically. There is no evidence to support this claim and it is a myth. 100,000 adolescents die by suicide each year and suicide is the biggest cause of death amongst 15-19 year olds worldwide (source; International Association for Suicide Prevention) and there is no peak in figures for Christmas or holiday season, but there are other reasons for the loss of life through suicide.
Recently a report suggests that suicide has rocketed in the U.K. since the economic downturn , and the largest rises in areas of most unemployment.
Debt, unemployment, drops in income and housing problems contribute highly to suicide and attempts of suicide, The share of households in Britain whose income is not enough to pay their bills has risen from 14 per cent a year ago to 16 per cent, Legal and General’s Money Mood survey has found, and it is well know that the link between suicide and recession is substantial. For example, the number of people unemployed in north and north-east Somerset and south Gloucestershire doubled over the three years and suicides increased by 50 per cent. Another reason for the rise in a time of recession is the fact that when local services are cut for economic reasons, those who have mental health problems and other vulnerable members of society can lose part of their support structure, becoming more distressed therefore triggering thoughts of suicide.
However the Christmas and New Year period can substantially have an effect on our emotional wellbeing, especially amongst people who live alone or people who are going through a bad time such as divorce or losing their job especially when being told it is the most wonderful time of the year, but there are few to tell us what to do when it simply isn’t the most wonderful time. So here are a few things that may help dealing with the celebrations even when you may feel you have nothing to celebrate.
Try a change in tradition, if your family invite you to join them at Christmas and you enjoy the support then that’s ideal, but if you think it would make you feel worse how about taking a short holiday in the sun and taking a break until you are stronger to deal with things.
If you have no family or short on friends, it’s not the end of the world as many are in this position in life, treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally buy and look forward to it, maybe save for a lavish meal in a restaurant without looking at the menu prices. Treat yourself to a show or take in the cinema more than you do normally.
If you are financially restricted how about making changes to your surroundings by decorating on a small scale or moving and revamping your furniture or rooms, or plan the garden. Keeping busy is a great way to get through the festivities when you are not feeling festive. If you have a friend who has had difficulty or have a friend you haven’t seen for years, how about asking them to join you in a double venture.
There’s nothing written in stone about having to experience an exciting and frantic time over the Christmas or New Year period even when the media forces us to think just that, so why not utilize the time to relax and have some quiet time, reading, play music or learn a new hobby.
You can’t ignore Christmas or New Year, the worst thing you can do is pretend it’s not happening and shut yourself off completely by hanging on negative thoughts which only run into a vicious circle in your mind and distract you from feeling better. Mark this time of year as a new start and even if you pass on all the extras don’t pass on the opportunity to be strong and reflect on the fact that billions of others have been in your position and have gone on to better and happier times.
Resources: Pics Flickr.com/The Independant/The Samaratans