Expert: Number of suicides not higher during the holidays

National research shows December is lowest month for suicides.

SAN ANTONIO – Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Rene Olvera, chief medical officer at the Center for Health Care Services, said suicides don’t go up over the holidays.

Citing national research by the Annenberg Public Policy Center and findings by the Centers for Disease Control, Olvera said, “November, December, January, February — these are the lowest-ranked months for suicide.”

“We all know the holidays can be a stressful time, but that doesn’t mean they result in suicide," Olvera said.

In contrast to the spring and summer, which are usually the highest months for suicide, he said December is the lowest.

During seasons of thanksgiving, goodwill and festive anticipation, Olvera said, “There may be some protective effect to the holidays. We look forward to time off and spending time with family.”

He said the biggest risk factors for suicide year-round are depression, loss and anything that leads to feelings of shame or guilt.

“That heat of the moment, passion, the access to drugs and alcohol and the access to firearms are a deadly combination,” Olvera said.

He urges anyone needing help year-round to contact one or several local agencies, such as the Battered Women’s and Children’s Shelter, the Center for Health Care Services mobile response team — which is available 24/7 by calling 210-223-7233 — or the 24-hour Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.