Carla Murez Health Day Reporter
MONDAY, May 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) — While one might think that suicides are more common during the darker months of winter, the reality is that It peaks in spring and early summer.
Researchers looking into what’s going on find that suicidal thoughts peak in December, but then take months to reach the “critical point”. People are also most likely to end their lives between 4 and 5 a.m., according to a new study.
Health problems may combat mood swings and depression. In fact, seasonal affective disorder is a well-recognized problem linked to seasonal changes that affect the mental health of many people,” said study co-author Brian O’Shea, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, UK.
Surprisingly, spring, when one thinks people are in high spirits, is actually a time when the stakes are greatest, he said in a university news release.
Complicated, but our research shows that suicidal thoughts and moods are worst in December and best in June ,” O’Shea said.
“Between these two points, the risk of suicidal behavior increases, which we believe is occurring because a gradual improvement in their mood and energy may allow them to plan and participation in suicide attempts,” he explained.
For the study, more than 10,000 people in the US, Canada and the UK completed questionnaires over a six-year period about their emotions and thoughts about suicide and self-harm Surveys and tasks.
Researchers created online tasks to examine explicit and implicit self-harm thoughts using direct questions about emotions, suicide, and self-harm. In these tasks, participants were asked to rank words related to self using death and life words in real time.
Respondents were divided into three groups: suicide attempts; those with suicidal thoughts or non-suicidal self-injury; and those with no previous self-harm, suicidal thoughts or behavior .
Over six years, investigators found a general increase in thoughts of self-harm. Findings show that the season has an impact on mood and death-wish, especially for those who have attempted suicide.
Explicit suicidal thoughts peaked in December, while implicit (or unconscious) self-harm associations peaked in February. Both occur before the peak of suicidal behavior in the spring and early summer.
O’Shea said. Translational Psychiatry .
US Centers for Disease Control And the Prevention Center has more information on suicide.
Source: University of Nottingham, Press Release, 11 May 2023