This isn’t a writing post. Just a reminder that sometimes when people are depressed they isolate themselves, so they aren’t necessarily going to come and seek you out and ask you to help them through a rough patch.
When I saw the news yesterday I immediately thought of a friend of mine who tends to take these types of events very personally. When the Columbine attacks happened, this friend cut out articles from the paper and spoke about it for weeks. Same with the 9/11 attacks. So, knowing this about my friend, I called to check in with them.
And they were happier than normal. Laughing a lot on the phone, never mentioning it even though it turns out they had seen the news.
And this worried me even more than if this person had been their normal slightly-negative-focused-on-bad-events self. Because sometimes when people have decided to kill themselves they are happy. They’ve found a solution. They have a plan.
So, I worry about this person. And I’ll be keeping a bit closer watch in the coming weeks to make sure that they really are ok.
Interestingly, according to the CDC website, December is actually one of the lowest months for suicides. So, contrary to popular belief, there isn’t normally a spike in suicides around the holidays.
But people do also react to public tragedy. (Here’s a list of Risk and Protective Factors. It lists loss as a risk factor and for many people events like this can feel like a personal loss even if they didn’t know anyone involved.)
So, reach out to those you know and love. And make sure they’re ok. (At all times of year, really.)
And, while there’s no spike in suicides around the holidays, unfortunately, there is a known spike in domestic violence incidents around the holidays. So, keep an eye out for that one, too. (How to help a friend who is being abused)