Is there an increase in suicide deaths during the holiday season?
It's been clearly demonstrated that, no, suicides actually increase in other seasons (spring and fall). But, how many times have you read or heard that suicide increases around the holidays?
The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania has studied media coverage of the "suicide myth" since the 1999-2000 holiday season, when it was found that 23% of media stories linking suicide and the holidays dispelled the myth that suicide increases during the holiday season. In the 2007-2008 holiday season, 49% of stories debunked the myth - an improvement, but not compared to 2006-2007, when 91% of stories debunked the myth.
What's the problem with supporting the myth? Well, aside from the obvious - that, as a myth, it is not a truth - talking or writing about suicide as an acceptable solution to a problem might make suicide seem like the best option for someone who is already vulnerable.