Archive for December, 2012

Despite Common Belief, Springtime is The Season with the Highest Suicide Risk

There has long been a misconception that the holidays are the time of year when people are most likely to commit suicide. According to a recent article on Slate, however, this is a myth that the media needs to stop reporting. Providing data from a number of recent studies and expert sources, Slate tells readers that the winter season, including around the holidays, is actually a time of year when people may be less inclined to commit suicide. The time when people are most likely to kill themselves is, instead, during the spring season.

Our Dallas suicide lawyers believe it is important that people have an accurate understanding of the key risk factors for suicides. By knowing when and why someone may be at risk for suicide, you have a better chance of stepping in to get that person the help they need.

Why the Holidays Aren’t a Key Time for Suicides

Many people believe that the holidays are a time when a lot of people commit suicide because lonely people may become desperate at spending the festive season by themselves. In reality, however, data dating as far back as 1812 indicates that the biggest spike in suicides occurs not over the holiday season but instead during the springtime period.

While there is no single definitive answer on why people kill themselves more in spring than during other times of the year, there are a lot of different theories about why suicides may be higher in the spring season. For example:

  • Bad winter weather means that people tend to interact and go out less. With people in the “semi-hybernation” mode of winter, they may encounter fewer conflict since they don’t see or interact with as many people. By springtime, on the other hand, everyone comes outside and interacts more and suicidal thoughts may be triggered by this increased interaction.
  • Sunshine may trigger suicidal thoughts, according to some psychiatric researchers. Longer days and warmer temperatures may also be more likely to inspire suicidal thoughts, according to various studies. The data on the impact of climate on suicide, however, is controversial and studies on the correlation between climate and suicide tend to contradict each other.
  • Springtime allergens can trigger the body to produce anxiety-inducing chemicals, potentially resulting in an increase in the rate of suicide. Some studies have also identified a link between a high pollen count and suicide.

Some experts also indicate that spring energizes people more, which may give them the motivation to take action and actually act on their suicidal thoughts. Winter, on the other hand, can cause people to be less motivated and this can include being less inclined to actually follow through with a suicide attempt.

Watching closely for signs of suicide, loved ones, friends, relatives, therapists and mental health professionals can all help to prevent someone they care about or are responsible for from committing suicide this spring. Every blog on the Skip Simpson web site and the book The Suicide Lawyers: Exposing Lethal Secrets are all targeted to prevent suicide.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.

2012 National Bullying Survey Shows High Suicide Risk For Bullied Kids

This December, the 2012 National Bullying Survey was released. The results are based on the survey responses of principals from more than 2,000 K-12 schools nationwide. Unfortunately, the responses demonstrate that anti-bullying efforts must be increased and that those who are bullied are at risk of suicide.

Our Dallas suicide attorneys urge schools, educators and parents to pay close attention to the results of the survey. To protect students and help to prevent the suicide deaths of young adults, schools must do more to curb bullying and to educate kids using integrated anti-bullying programs so they have a better understanding of just how devastating bullying can be.

Bullying Behavior Puts Kids at Risk

Bullying behavior can be hard for anyone, child or adult, to withstand without experiencing emotional problems as a result. Tragically, despite many anti-bullying campaigns and despite many high profile deaths as a result of bullying, the problem of bullying in schools has not gone away.

As the 2012 National Bullying Survey shows:

  • More than 50 percent of middle school principals report that bullying is one of their top five problems.
  • 32 percent of elementary school principals name bullying as one of their top five problems.
  • 36 percent of high school principals count bullying among their top five issues.
  • Only one out of every six principals responding to the survey reported that bullying had decreased as a result of anti-bullying programs or initiatives.
  • Cyber bullying has become the biggest bullying issue in a high school setting.

Sadly these results show that educational efforts may not be having a very strong impact at curbing bullying behavior. The respondents to the study, however, indicated that anti-bullying lessons that were integrated into the curriculum tended to be more effective than separate anti-bullying programs.

The Link Between Bullying and Suicide

Tragically, bullying can have a serious impact on the lives of those who are victims and can significantly increase the risk that a young adult will commit suicide. This link between bullying and suicide can be seen in the fact that thirteen percent of high school principals responding to the 2012 National Bullying Survey reported that a student had either attempted suicide or committed suicide because of bullying behavior.

Both physical and verbal abuse can cause kids to think about suicide, and cyber bullying has only exacerbated the problem because young adults may no longer be able to escape the bullying behavior at home. Bullying can reduce a child or teen’s self esteem, inspire fear, make him afraid that the bullying will never end, and cause depression. All of these different outcomes of bullying can trigger suicidal behavior.

Schools need to do more to protect their students from being bullied and to reinforce the lesson that bullying is a terrible practice that should never be tolerated. Integrated anti-bullying programs may be one way to help get this message across. Schools also need to continue to step up both education and enforcement efforts as they have an obligation to provide a safe environment for all of their students and to do everything possible to prevent suicides caused by bullies.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.