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Springtime does not necessarily bring relief to people with depression. In fact, suicide rates around the world peak in spring.
On an average day, 105 Americans lose their lives to suicide. And counterintuitively, more of these lives are lost when the weather is warm and the sun shines bright.
Folk wisdom holds that winter is the most common time for suicides, with depressive symptoms
exacerbated by cold, dark weather. Another myth suggests that suicides spike around the holidays, when struggling people feel left out of the cultural cheer.
In fact, studies dating back to the late 1800s find that suicides peak in the spring and are lowest in winter. One 1995 study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine
examined monthly suicide rates in 28 countries and found that in 25 in the Northern Hemisphere, suicides were most common in May and ebbed in February.
Similar findings occur in the Southern Hemisphere - in South Africa, for example, suicides peak in the southern spring, in September and October, according to a 1997 study in the journal Psychiatry Research.
The reason for this seasonality is unknown, but there are hints. Some researchers think weather or the ebb and flow of sociality drives the trend; others blame inflammatory processes that increase in spring.