The question of does Christmas bring more death and depression than cheer is raised again with the Warrington Christmas Day deaths verdict. The popular belief is that suicide rates and incidences of domestic violence including murder go up over the festive season and the Christmas Day death verdicts of suicide and unlawful killing seem to fit that pattern. Christmas is for most of us a happy family time though not without it's stresses as we get to grips with being nice to relatives that we last saw last Christmas and that hold totally opposite views to us on life, love and the universe. Most of us muddle through and even manage to enjoy it without resorting to violent or suicidal behaviour.
When almost everyone else around seems to be having fun with friends and familly one can see how things might seem worse than ever for those mourning a lost loved one or that are already in the midst of depression but are we right in this belief? Phillip and Wills in a study of 188,000 US suicides found that were on average 102 less suicides on holidays compared to other days of the year with a clear dip in such deaths over the Chrismas period. This said the UK Samaritons report a significant increase in the number of calls to their suicide help line over the Chrismas period. So it seems there's perhaps an increase in the number of people who feel depressed to the point of calling for help but a decrease in the actual number of people that commit suicide - perhaps because more of them are moved to call for help over the holiday period than at other times - the Christmas spirit of others acting as some kind of protective factor.
Whatever the findings of this research or that the news of a death at Christmas seems to hit home harder and reports of such deaths for this very reason are more newsworthy when everyone is meant to be feeling happy so fueling the impression that Christmas time is the highest suicide and most depressing time of the year.
Lets hope that the coming festive season proves to be one of good cheer, low suicide rates, and few marital split-ups.
Lotus Flower UK
VERDICTS of unlawful killing and suicide have been recorded at the inquest into two Christmas Day deaths.
Cheshire Coroners' Court, sitting in Warrington, heard on Thursday that Steven Rankin was judged to have killed himself with an overdose after apparently strangling his partner, Donella Schofield.
She was found dead of 'manual compression' at the couple's home in Wellfield Street, Bewsey.
Mr Rankin's body was found in bushes near the Spiders Web climbing frame, in Sankey Valley Park, at 9.30am on Christmas Day last year by dog walker Raymond Rudge, from Stratton Road. He had scratches to the back of his head, neck and hands.
Donella Schofield was found lying on her back in the kitchen on Boxing Day. Police could find no evidence of anyone else being involved.
Small bones round Ms Schofield's neck were broken and a pathologist concluded she probably died of manual strangulation. There were traces of her partner's DNA under her fingernails and bruises to her upper arms