Why is December the saddest month of the year? (Actually, it’s not)
Maybe you’ve heard the “statistic” that the month of December has more suicides than any other time of year. Perhaps you’ve been warned that depression seems to spike during the holidays. While winter’s shorter days and reduced sunlight can cause problems for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression that tends to occur during winter months), the reports of a blue Christmas may be exaggerated at best.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Public Policy Center studied statistics from the Centers for Disease Control from 1999 to 2010 and discovered that the opposite appears to be true: More suicides tend to happen in summer months.
So is the December myth still in circulation? Inaccurate reports from news outlets misinform the public and squander the opportunity to provide accurate educational information about mental health.
While “deadly” December may be a myth, depression is a clinical illness that is more than merely having “the blues.” When depression interferes with daily life for two weeks or longer, a physician can help. Those with Seasonal Affective Disorder may be more sensitive to the shorter days that occur from December to February. This disorder may be effectively treated by the use of light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy.