In the ever growing series of questions about time or weather dependencies of crime or other kinds of behavior, I have heard several times people pretend that the suicide (and attempted suicide) rate is higher during the week-end and the holidays, especially holidays associated with family reunion (such as Thanksgiving in the USA, or Easter for catholics, etc.) in most countries.

It is tempting to believe this, but as loneliness is certainly not the only cause for suicide (but is usually an important circumstance), I doubt it. Are detailed statistics available to study this phenomena? If so, is it culturally dependent?

1 Answer 1


It is a culturally independent phenomena, more precisely, culturally independent myth :) Or at least here in Europe this myth is very widespread as well as in US. Not sure if it is known in, i.e. China or Papua New Guinea.

Here's how media sees it:

In an analysis of newspaper articles about suicide between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 1999, researchers found nearly half of them associated suicide with the winter holidays

Psychology today

And this is how it really works:

Various studies have found that depression and suicide rates are not linked to the holidays. Despite the media focus on suicides during the holiday season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics report that suicide rates in the United States are lowest during the winter months and highest in the springtime (the reasons for this are not clear). Some authorities speculate that during springtime, when moods tend to improve after dark, winter days, those with depression may not feel happier while others around them do, thus encouraging suicidal feelings.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the holiday season actually is the time of the year when there are the least amount of suicides with the lowest point being December 1st and the lowest rate of the year by month being in December. The highest suicide rates actually appear during Spring time and then peak once again during Fall.


There's also an article at snopes.com, which finds the claim false.

These are not exactly the same holidays you mentioned, but it looks like it's just another flavor of the same myth.

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