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Why is Spring a Peak Time for Suicides?

How could a season so exuberantly optimistic and bursting with new life as spring be a peak time for suicide? It seems impossibly cruel, but according to The Guardian, the northern hemisphere witnesses a May/June rise in suicides and the southern hemisphere reports a comparable trend in November, their sunnier period.

Adam Kaplan, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Johns Hopkins University, said,”overwhelming evidence suggests that inflammation from various sources, including allergies, can cause or worsen depression… Seasonal allergies in the spring put a large number of Americans at a higher risk for depression.”

Another reason put forth by experts is that springtime gives rise to more manic behaviour, especially in those suffering from bipolar disorder, and can increase self-destructive acts

My brother, Steve, would have turned 73 today had he not taken his life 19 years ago, almost to the day. He’d struggled from depression at times but it had never been diagnosed, and he’d seemed upbeat when he contacted me a few weeks before his death to tell me he was on his way to Calgary in search of work and to visit old friends. According to some psychiatrists, the remission that some depression sufferers experience in spring can give them the energy to follow through on their suicide plans.

That may have been what happened to my brother. The discovery of his body in the front seat of his truck in a gravel pit near Kindersley Saskatchewan shredded my heart and that of my sister, mother, and all who loved Steve, a kind, intelligent, capable man who’d often said he was born in the wrong century.

My book, “Did You Know I Would Miss You?” charts my healing path as a survivor of suicide loss, and offers help and guidance to others similarly afflicted. Kathleen Adams, Director of The Center for Journal Therapy, said, “In this brave and necessary work, Donaleen Saul stares straight into the pain of losing a loved one to suicideā€¦the story is compelling and the writing prompts are sensitive and artful, gently guiding the reader through the complexities of this very particular grief.”

If you or your organization wishes copies of this book, contact me at donaleen@donaleensaul. It is available for $10 USD + shipping costs. May it bring comfort to you and/or to others who are impacted by this terrible loss.

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