Holiday Depression, Stress Not Always “Just the Blues”

ILLINOIS (NSS) — The holiday season is ramping up, and while most people look forward to festivities with friends and family, for others this time of year can worsen stress, sadness and depression. Some people have increased anxiety due to travel obligations, or the expenses of gift-giving. Others neglect self-care trying to make the holidays special for family or loved ones. There is no evidence that the suicide rate spikes at Christmas, but suicides have dramatically increased in the U-S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the 10th-leading cause of death nationwide, and the second-leading cause for people ages 15 to 34. Since 1999, Illinois’ suicide rate has increased by 23 percent.

Nancy Molitor is a clinical psychologist with the Illinois Psychological Association. She explains the holidays can be especially tough for people who have experienced a recent loss or have struggled with depression. She adds this is not the time to cancel therapy sessions.

Because people thrive on strong friendships and family relationships, Molitor says too much solitude at any time of year can bring on feelings of despair. She encourages people to be present for loved ones who are depressed, even if they are acting ornery.

To reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).