Holiday Depression and Suicide Awareness
In the United States, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. Unfortunately, depression and stress don’t take a holiday, and spreading awareness is as relevant now as any other time of year.
People struggling with mental health can find family gatherings, travel, and additional financial burdens particularly challenging. Additionally, specific triggers, interactions, expectations, or memories can activate individuals with trauma.
The good news is you can support the mental health of yourself and those around you this holiday season. While there’s no evidence that the holidays increase suicide rates, you might have the opportunity to spend time with a loved one you don’t often see. Understanding the signs can help you support them if they are depressed or suicidal.
According to the CDC, suicide is a severe health problem in the United States. Part of suicide awareness and prevention is understanding the scope and reach of suicide.
- Nearly 40,000 people died by suicide in 2020
- There is one suicide death every 11 minutes in the United States
- 2 million people seriously thought about suicide in 2020
- Suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people 10-64
- Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for people 10-14 and 25-34
Suicide is a full-blown epidemic in the United States, especially for young people 10-14 and 25-34. This holiday season, you can help support friends and family you might not regularly see throughout the year by knowing the red flags of depression and suicide risk.
How Does Depression Relate to Suicide?
There is a difference between feeling occasionally depressed and being diagnosed with clinical depression. While it is completely natural for a person to experience a depressed feeling after a loss, separation, or setback, depression as a mood disorder doesn’t need a catalyst or event.
Clinical depression is a mental health disorder that is common but severe. It can include symptoms like:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
While not all individuals with clinical depression are suicidal, suicide attempts or ideation are possible symptoms of the disorder. If you know or suspect someone you know is dealing with depression, you can support them this holiday season by being available, patient, and listening.
While telling people to “cheer up” around the holidays is common, it’s important to remember that people struggling with depression aren’t simply navigating a “down mood.” Rather than asking them to put on a show, lend an ear and let the person know you are glad to see them, even if they aren’t “the life of the party.”
What is the Difference Between Suicide and Suicidal Ideation?
A suicide attempt is when someone attempts to end their life. Suicidal ideation is “thoughts about suicide,” which can include someone’s feelings, beliefs, wishes, preoccupations, or plans. Although suicidal ideation does not guarantee a person will attempt to end their life, it is one of the apparent warning signs.
Believe it or not, there is some good news about suicide attempts: 90% of failed suicide attempts never go on to die by suicide.
Warning Signs for Suicide
Most people who take their lives or attempt to take their lives display at least one warning sign. A warning sign might include talk, behavior, or mood.
Warning signs someone might be suicidal or experiencing suicidal ideation.
- Feeling trapped
- Experiencing unbearable pain
- Knowing they are a burden to others
- Explicit talk about taking their life
- Believing they have no purpose or reason to live
- Feeling overwhelming hopelessness
- Humiliation & Shame
- Agitation & Anger
- Loss of interest in hobbies, pleasures, relationships
- Sudden relief and improvement
- Giving away their possessions
- Making other arrangements for their pets
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Researching ways to end their life
- Isolating from family and friends
- Reaching out to say goodbye to people
You’ll note that sudden relief or improvement is a sign someone might be suicidal. If someone appears depressed over a period and then seems relieved out of nowhere, it could be a sign that they’ve created and are at peace with their plan to take their life.
People who finally decide to go through with their plan can sometimes experience a sense of released shame, guilt, or depression because they see their plan as a “light at the end of the tunnel.” If a depressed person suddenly seems relieved, talk to them about their feelings and what might have changed.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Someone is Suicidal?
GreeningLaw, P.C. has partnered with The Grant Halliburton Foundation to help people dealing with a mental health crisis–during the holidays or any other time! Their Here for Texas Program is an outstanding resource for Texans seeking mental health or addiction support.
If you or a loved one are struggling with thoughts of suicide, call 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. They can offer immediate support to suicidal individuals and those attempting to help them.
Our In-Patient Suicide Lawyers Are Ready to Help
GreeningLaw, P.C. is ready to fight for justice for your family if you have been impacted by an in-patient suicide. As one of Texas’s most recognized personal injury law firms, we have the experience and expertise to hold the hospital accountable.
At GreeningLaw, we treat each case with the same dedication we would extend to our own family, bringing everything in our power to bear to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve.
Contact us 24/7 to schedule a free consltation. In that consultation, we will ask about details surrounding your case, discuss possible compensation you may receive, and suggest the best course of action. And, because our attorneys work on a contingency basis, you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case.