A common belief says suicides in American increase during the Christmas season.

Not so, says Neel Burton, M.D., in Psychology Today.

“Contrary to popular belief, the suicide rate peaks in the springtime, not the wintertime,” Burton writes.

He adds:

This is probably because the rebirth that marks springtime accentuates feelings of hopelessness in those already suffering with it. In contrast, around Christmas time most people with suicidal thoughts are offered some degree of protection by the proximity of their relatives and the prospect, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, of “things getting better from here.”

As a recovering alcoholic, I normally work phone lines in December to help those who feel depressed during the Christmas season.  Our goal is help those addicted to drinking find a reason to not fall off the wagon and drink.

Suicide is a year-round problem in America and has grown in recent years because of a dramatic increase among veterans who return home from multiple deployments in this nation’s many conflicts in foreign lands.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans killed themselves and 1.3 million attempted suicide.  Men comprise seven out of every 10 suicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

So far, in 2018, 44,695 have died from suicide nationally and 1,166 of those deaths came in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Foundation for Suicide Prevention says suicide costs Virginia about $1.1 billon in combined medical and work loss — an average of $1.2 million per death.

I’ve lost too many relatives and friends to suicide over my 70+ years in this earth.  At least one used drugs to die, others shot themselves and one died in a closed garage with the car running.

Those of us close to those victims still have nightmares over the symptoms me missed or perhaps ignored.  What more should we have done.

“Limited research exists that examines the contribution of family factors to the development and treatment of suicide. Although suicidal behavior occurs within an individual, the context in which it occurs can add necessary insights for understanding and preventing suicide,” say Laura M. Frey of the University of Louisville and Julie Carel at the University of Kentucky in a study of “Risk for Suicide and the Role of Family.”

They continue:

Referring to the effort of friends and family to “act right” in response to the suicide of his own father, researcher and clinician Thomas Joiner writes, “[They] needed to intellectually grasp suicide before they could do< anything else . . . and since they couldn’t grasp it intellectually—few can— their otherwise good hearts were hampered. For many, the concept of taking your own life is foreign, and their inherent misunderstanding inhibits.

As a newspaperman, I have seen too much death here and abroad.  When death comes to a family member or a friend from their own hand, depression often enshrouds each of us.

Suicides occur even in small rural areas like Floyd County.  We saw one by a student at Floyd County High School not that long ago. Each one affects all of us.

Life is precious.

In the end one needs more courage to live than to kill themself.