Holiday Blues and Suicide

Dr. Kiandra Hebert, PhD, MS, Licensed Psychologist
Four Rivers Behavioral Health

The holidays can bring about giving, good cheer and family get togethers. It can also be a time when some feel especially lonely, depressed, or may even contemplate suicide. Although many of us are “wrapped up” in holiday celebrations we can always be on the lookout for our relatives, friends and acquaintances who are feeling sad, upset or alone.

As the festivities ramp up, think about the people in your life who may be struggling. Did a friend not seem to be themselves? Does a co-worker look tired or withdrawn? Does a member of your family who is usually friendly want to spend more time home alone or is not interested in the usual activities? Are you concerned about someone who is talking about past regrets, or not being good enough? If you are concerned about someone who seems depressed or says something that concerns you, it’s okay to ask if they have been thinking about hurting themselves and wishing they weren’t alive anymore. It’s not uncommon for friends and family to avoid asking about suicide because they are concerned about causing offense, putting the idea in their head, or simply not wanting to intrude. In reality, asking could save a life.

Just as important as asking the question is how you act when they respond. Focus on listening, try not to judge, provide hope and encourage them to seek help. If someone says they are going to hurt themselves, be direct! Let them know you care, ask if they have a specific plan or method of hurting themselves.

If you believe someone to be in imminent danger of hurting themselves encourage them to seek help, call a local crisis line or call 911.

This applies not only to others but also to yourself.

If you have noticed that you feel less interested in things around you, or have been feeling sad, or thinking you don’t want to face another day – please get help. A behavioral health specialist can provide treatment and hope. Most insurance plans cover these services as depression is recognized as a medical problem that requires treatment.

Remember, while many people are more attuned to mood changes during the holidays, being concerned for your mental health and the health of those around you is a year-long task. Be concerned, and remember, depression is treatable and suicide can be prevented.

Dr. Hebert has a BS in Psychology from the UCONN Honors Program and a PhD from the JDP at UCSD/SDSU in Clinical Psychology. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and currently works as a psychologist for Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800.273.8255
Four Rivers Behavioral Health Crisis Line 800.592.3980

 

 

 

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