VOL. 18  ISSUE NO. 50   |    DECEMBER 12 – 18, 2012


Desert Hills teen commits suicide

Contrary to popular belief, depression and suicide rates do not rise around holidays
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DESERT HILLS – Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home on north 16th Street near Maddock Road early Tuesday evening after a family friend discovered a 16-year-old male Sandra Day O’Connor High School student dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to MCSO, there were no witnesses and the victim left no suicide note.

While the holiday season is often blamed for increases in depression and suicide various studies have found that not to be the case.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics report that suicide rates are lowest in the United States during the winter months and highest in the springtime.

An in-depth analysis of all suicides in Olmstead County, Minn. over a period of 35 years found no increases in suicides three days before, during or three days after birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day or Independence Day.

The study also found suicides were most numerous early in the week and least common on weekends, which could be attributed to greater social interaction during weekends and holidays, discouraging wearisome thoughts.

After examining national suicide data from 1996, the Annenburg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found November and December were actually the lowest-ranked months for suicide, with January close behind.

In an article by Jacquelyn Rudis titled “True or False: Depression and Suicide Rates Rise During the Holiday Season” posted on NYU Langone Medical Center’s website, Rudis concluded, “Contrary to popular belief, depression and suicide rates do not rise around holidays. The media often inaccurately reports such a link, and also tends to blame suicides during the holiday season on depression or anxiety directly related to the holidays. However, studies have shown that people tend to be less likely to commit suicide during the holiday season, perhaps because of an increase in available emotional support.”

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