The resolution to safety plan in the New Year
Much of the public believes that there are increased suicide rates during the period leading up to Christmas, and potentially Christmas Eve and day. This myth continues to swirl around in the media and, as a result, extends to the mouths and minds of the public.
Why is it important to recognise and challenge this myth?
The Samaritans’ informative, ‘Media Guidelines when Reporting on Suicide’, states “Research evidence shows that certain types of media depictions — sensational and excessive reporting — can lead to imitational suicidal behaviour among vulnerable people.”
As a result of this, sensationalised numbers surrounding high rates of suicide in December misinform young people about suicide, which could lead to potential ‘suicide contagion’.
Samaritans continues, “Young people are a particularly vulnerable audience about media coverage of suicide. They are more susceptible to imitational suicidal behaviour and more likely to be influenced by the media than other age groups.”
What does this mean for supporting young people through suicidal thoughts during the Christmas period into the New Year?
CEO Caroline Harroe of Harmless, the centre of excellence for self-harm and suicide prevention, says, “The ONS data indicates in 2020, the suicide rate in December was 0.38 per 100,000 people, while the rate in January was 0.55 per 100,000 people. This pattern has been evident for several years.”
Reframe New Year resolutions
Reframing the expectations of New Year’s Day and the entire arrival of a new year could help people cope with suicidal thoughts. Collectively, we can acknowledge that while it would be a thrill to feel solace with the low hum of a treadmill or clink champagne flutes as drops of gold spill out with ease, it cannot, by any means, be an expectation.
We can, together, address that it is enough to work on safety from acting on plans of suicide for many people who cope with suicidal thoughts or supporting those who have suicidal thoughts.