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Spring is a wonderful time of year


The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the sun is out longer, and school is almost out.

Spring is great for a lot of reasons, but many young people struggle during this season. 

Suicide rates are highest in the spring, which is why we are launching our #BeeStrong campaign through our social media accounts. We want to provide youth with skills, knowledge, and hope so that they can get through this stressful time of year.

Everyone has the capacity to be strong and resilient, but sometimes that strength is hard to find within ourselves. 

 

So much sun, so why so glum?

There are many theories for why suicide rates increase in the spring. Suicide is complicated, and while there is no simple answer to why suicide rates climb in spring, there are many ideas - supported by data - as to what contributes to these crises in our youth during this particular season.

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Exams start this time of year, and they can cause a lot of stress for youth. Check out the resources here and here for signs of stress and anxiety from exams, areas that contribute to exam stress, why students might be experiencing exam stress, helpful study habits, and other information that will help students deal with the stress of exams. 

 

Allergies from pollen can increase inflammation, which in turn can increase symptoms of anxiety for persons with anxiety-based disorders (Postolache, Komarow, & Tonelli, 2008).

Persons with anxiety based disorders are at risk for suicide (AFSP, 2018).

 

Monthly rates of suicide based upon all cases of suicide from 1970 to 2001 in the Danish Cause of Death Registry. History of mood disorder was obtained from the Danish Psychiatric Central Register. A history of mood disorders increased the risk of suicide in spring. (Woo, Okusaga, & Postolach, 2012)

Some other explanations include:

  • More sunlight means more energy. Most of the time, energy is a good thing, but this seasonal increase in vibrancy can be used for self-harming behaviors (Williams, 2002).
  • Body-shame blues: The warmer weather of spring usually means more time by the pool, on the lake or at the beach, which can cause some insecurity for those who aren't as confident as others while wearing a bathing suit.
  • Feeling excluded: Other youth are posting pictures and statuses on social media that show everyone how much fun they are having (Williams, 2002).
  • During the winter, many people tend to stay at home. That changes during the spring, where people are expected to go out and interact with others. Increased social interactions create more opportunities for rejection and disappointment (Beresin & Schlozman, 2006)

Most importantly, and perhaps THE take-home message; No matter what the season, be wary of issues pertaining to suicide. Self-harm is a significant public health threat throughout the year. If you’re worried, ask the person you’re worried about. You won’t regret it, and you might just save a life.
— (Beresin & Schlozman, 2016)
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Even though there are many ideas about why suicide is more prominent in spring, we at SCYSPI want youth to know that life can be rather stressful, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming.

Spring is about new life, and we want youth to embrace this burst of sun and color as a time for renewed hope in their own lives. Spring should be about embracing the opportunity to care for ourselves and strengthen our hope for the future.

If you are having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) for a free anonymous call. It is never shameful to ask for help!

Here are some ways youth can keep themselves safe and hopeful for their future.

Here are some examples from youth who designed hashtags for us!

Do you want to design a hashtag for our #BeeStrong campaign? If so, please contact Brandon Parker at Brandon.Parker@scdmh.org and send him a picture of the design. Write your name on it so we can give you credit for the design! Bee creative!!!

You can also post it on our Facebook wall or tweet it at us. We'll then post it on our website and across all of our social media platforms, including Facebook (@scyspi), Twitter (@scyspi), or Instagram (@scyspidmh). 

Follow us through June 8th for more information, skills, tips, and maybe some funny pictures. You won't know unless you check yourself! There will be plenty of opportunities for you to use our hashtag #BeeStrong in response to our posts, so keep a lookout!

Don't let the season bring you down. Think of the positives. You can Bee Strong!

 

Sources:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2018). Risk Factors and Warning Signs
          Retrieved from
          https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/

Beresin, G, & Schlozman, S. (2016). Spring Suicide: An (Un)Likely Combination? 
          Retrieved from https://www.mghclaycenter.org/parenting-                                              concerns/teenagers/spring-suicide-an-unlikely-combination/

Exam Stress (2018). In kidshelpline. Retrieved from  
          https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/exam-stress

Exam Stress (n.d.). In University of St. Andrews: Advice and Support. Retrieved                        from https://www.standrews.ac.uk/students/advice/personal/managin                    gexamstress/

Postolache, T. T., Komarow, H., & Tonelli, L. H. (2008). Allergy: a risk factor for                      suicide [Abstract]? Current Treatment Options in Neurology, 10 (5),363-376.                  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18782509

Williams, A. (2002). Season and Suicide. Journal of the National Medical                                  Association, 94 (5), 283-284. Retrieved from
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2594336/

Woo, J. M., Okusaga, O., & Postolach, T. T. (2012). Seasonality of Suicidal Behavior.             International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9 (2), 531-              547. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9020531