Mental Health Expert: Debunking the Holiday Season Suicide Rates Myth

by | Dec 29, 2022


Although many individuals do struggle during the winter months and deserve effective care, the idea that suicide rates climb over the holidays is false.

Acknowledging that people can struggle at any time of the year, getting people the help they need whenever difficulties arise should be a priority. But as it functions now, the healthcare system is woefully inadequate at providing sufficient support.

Some of this inadequacy comes from being misguided by the biological model of care, which sees issues like depression and anxiety as being physically originated and, subsequently, treated with substances or other body-based interventions (e.g., electroshock therapy). As the World Health Organization notes, this model ignores a wide range of factors that can influence mental health and general well-being, such as work or stable housing. It has come under the financial influence of large pharmaceutical companies, which has played a part in contributing to the widespread substance addiction and mental health crises in the U.S. Research has brought the biomedical model into question, as well, leading psychologists and related care providers to question the chemical imbalance theory.

But there’s still hope, as well as proven methods for helping improve overall mental well-being. Exercise in particular has been rigorously explored as it relates to mental health—a 2020 report from the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation found that, out of 1,279 studies, 89% reported significant positive relationships between physical activity and mental health outcomes. Similarly, a 2017 evaluation of arts charity organization Arts and Minds and their art workshops showed a 71% and 73% decrease in feelings of anxiety and depression, respectively.



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