Christmas is fun and family time, or so everyone would have
you believe. This isn’t the case for everybody. Far from it.
Some of the things that depress people at Christmas include
the commercialisation of Christmas, excessive self-reflection, unrealistic
expectations, debt incurred over this season, and social gatherings with family
or friends they might not feel like seeing, according to Psychology Today.
But interestingly enough, according to the National
Institutes of Health (US), although the general mood (and feelings of
loneliness and anxiety) of many people may be worse over Christmas.
With the abuse of alcohol and other substances, there is a
reduction of admissions to psychiatric facilities over this period, as well as
lower-than-normal suicides or suicide attempts in many countries the world
over. Incidents of self-harming behaviour also decrease.
Also read: Jonathan delivers powerful Christmas message to Nigerians
Suicide in SA
But, in South Africa, however, the month of December as a
whole has the highest suicide rate of the year, according to Ms Zane Wilson,
founder of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.
But while Christmas itself may have a low suicide rate, in
the days following Christmas, according to a Danish study from 1999, there is a
40 percent increase in suicide attempts.
So what should one do if one feels depressed or suicidal
over this time? Mayo Clinic recommends calling a 24-hour helpline, seeing your
doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, or reaching out to a friend or loved one
as a start. For
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