Mental health officials say January can be a depressing time for some people
Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 06:00 am
Officials with the Centre for Suicide Prevention say January can be a depressing time for some people, especially when a drop in oil prices has caused thousands of layoffs across the province.
With food prices going up and people losing their jobs, post-holiday bills can become more difficult to pay.
“After the holiday season, people may be more in debt than usual, they may be missing the family and friends they were able to reconnect with over the holidays, or they may have a difficult time adjusting to the return to work,” reads a Centre for Suicide Prevention media release.
Some people also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression related to changes in seasons.
Since 2005, the third Monday in January has been reported as the day of the year when people feel most depressed. It is referred to as Blue Monday.
Many people also wrongly believe the most suicides take place on Blue Monday, which was Jan. 18 this year. Mental health officials say that’s a myth.
They say the suicide rate actually peaks in the spring and summer, rather than in the winter like many people believe.
“Blue Monday may be a myth, but it is important to remember those that are feeling depressed and possibly suicidal at any time of the year,” reads the release.
“We know that the majority of those who are suicidal don’t actually want to die, they just want the pain of living to stop.”
Suicides in Alberta increased by 30 per cent last year and Mara Grunau, who is the executive director for the Centre for Suicide Prevention, said the increase could be related to Alberta’s economic situation.
Officials haven’t seen this kind of increase since the ’70s and they are expecting it to continue.
She said for every one per cent increase in unemployment there is a corresponding 0.79 per cent increase in the suicide rate.
She also said Alberta’s suicide rate is higher than most Canadian provinces and three out of four people who die by suicide are men.
The Centre for Suicide Prevention is a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and was established in 1981. It is based out of Calgary and provides programs across the province.
Officials research and distribute educational information about suicide to Albertans through the use of social media, newspapers, workshops and tool kits.
Grunau said if people suspect someone is contemplating suicide they should ask them directly and connect them to help.