Not feeling the festive season? You are not alone

Some of the things that depress people at Christmas include the commercialisation of Christmas, excessive self-reflection, unrealistic expectations, debt incurred over this season, and social gatherings with family or friends they might not feel like seeing, according to Psychology Today.

But interestingly enough, according to the National Institutes of Health (US), although the general mood (and feelings of loneliness and anxiety) of many people may be worse over Christmas.

With the abuse of alcohol and other substances, there is a reduction of admissions to psychiatric facilities over this period, as well as lower-than-normal suicides or suicide attempts in many countries the world over. Incidents of self-harming behaviour also decrease.

Read more: How to avoid stress and depression over Christmas

Suicide in SA

But, in South Africa, however, the month of December as a whole has the highest suicide rate of the year, according to Ms Zane Wilson, founder of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

But while Christmas itself may have a low suicide rate, in the days following Christmas, according to a Danish study from 1999, there is a 40 percent increase in suicide attempts.

So what should one do if one feels depressed or suicidal over this time? Mayo Clinic recommends calling a 24-hour helpline, seeing your doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, or reaching out to a friend or loved one as a start.

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