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Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve and Day move many people to embrace religious and cultural festivities with family and friends. For those who are isolated, experiencing a downturn in their life experience, or struggling with mental or emotional illness, however, the winter holidays usher in additional risk for suicide. While the overall trend for suicides in the U.S. is concerning—suicide rates increased 25.4% between 1999 and 2016—January continues to be the month in which the highest number of Americans succeed in killing themselves. Where there are 85.5 suicides per day in December, that number jumps to 91.9 for the month of January. The CDC attributes the spike to increased levels of stress and depression. It’s important for urgent care providers to inquire whether patients have received a diagnosis for depression, as such patients are the most likely to experience serious risk after the holidays. If so, ask further how they’ve been experiencing the holidays. If they acknowledge having a difficult time, suggest they get in touch with their mental health professional. If they don’t have a relationship with one, have a referral list on hand.


It’s a Season of Cheer for Most—and the Highest Period of Suicide Risk for Others; Be Prepared