Holiday Blues: All you need to know and do about it.
Though the holiday season brings a lot of cheer and happiness in the hearts of the people. It is also the same holiday season that sometimes drives numerous people to attempt to take their own lives.
A research was conducted by Brendan Cavanagh in 2015 in order to understand the periods and times when individuals were most at risk of suicide. He found out that days of the week months of the year, national and religious holidays can in fact, be used as indicators in the variation of suicide rates.
Shruthi, a student of psychology and a volunteer for a London based student helpline said, “Every year, around the New Year’s eve, we get a number of calls where people call us just before they are attempting to take their lives. Generally, they just want to hear someone tell them that they have someone looking out for them.”
New Year’s Day is the day when the most number of suicides are attempted and while Christmas day has the lowest suicide rate, it is during the Christmas period as a whole that there may be a spike in the suicides.
“The kind of calls that we get are sometimes triggered due to Google’s new policy of giving out helpline numbers when someone tries to look up a way to commit suicide. Usually, we do end up talking them out of taking such an extreme step but there is always those or two who we can’t save and they haunt us” said another volunteer. “But that is what drives us to strive harder and ensure that everyone who calls us is safe.”
According to the Office for National Statistics (GB), there has been a 3.4% decrease in the number of registered suicides in 2016 than in 2015.
“Though there has been a significant decrease in the number suicides in the past year, we still are cautious about the calls that we get during the holiday period as it is the time when a lot of people are at their most vulnerable” Shruthi said.
This happens due to the unrealistic expectations, the financial pressures and excessive commitments that the holidays bring about with them. Further, there are certain people who may feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). All these factors may lead people to believe that their life isn’t worth it and they may go ahead and attempt suicide.
“Although, people say that April is the time when people are more prone to attempt suicide, it is during the winter months that we get the maximum number of calls. It isn’t just people who are attempting to commit suicide. It is also the families of the people who have lost someone in similar incidents. While it is sad to get such calls, we also have some of the family members volunteering for us.
“These are the little things that keep us going and make it easier to take calls and tell people that they will be okay.” Said Shruthi.
While the holidays are approaching, the helplines are working full time to ensure lesser loss of life. There are number of helplines in Cardiff itself that can be contacted in case anyone sees a person going through a bad phase or if anyone feels hopeless and depressed around the holiday time.