Holiday Rorschach Test

Facts and myths about depression during the holidays.

Looking through the holiday lens, what comes to mind when when you see the image below?

About depression during the holidays:

  • suicide rates are reported to be lower during Thanksgiving and Christmas and higher during the spring and summer months1
  • a common myth is that more suicides occur during these holidays when, in fact, the winter holidays represent a low point in suicide rates2
  • one theory is that because of family togetherness, people are less inclined to act on impulse during the holidays than at other times of the year
  • college-aged adults are particularly vulnerable during summer and spring3

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Related content: Celebrating Rorschach's Birthday

Hermann Rorschach was a Swiss Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Dr Rorschach is, of course, remembered for having developed  the Rorschach inkblot test in order to gain insight of psychotherapy patients.

References:

1. Beauchamp GA, Ho ML, Yin S. Variation in suicide occurrence by day and during major American holidays. J Emerg Med. 2014;46:776-781.
2. Van Orden KA, Witte TK, James LM, et al. Suicidal ideation in college students varies across semesters: the mediating role of belongingness. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2008;38:427-435.
3. Joiner T. Understanding and Overcoming the Myths of Suicide. Psychiatric Times. January 19, 2014. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/suicide/understanding-and-overcoming-myths-suicide.

This article was originally posted on December 24, 2014, and has since been updated. -Ed