Watch for holiday depression

Published 1:45 am Monday, December 20, 2004

By Staff
Our View
While many think of the Christmas and holiday season as a joyous time of celebration, the holidays can also be difficult for many across the country.
For many people, according to the National Mental Health Association, it is a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures, the loss of family members and loved ones and anxiety about an uncertain future.
Here in Atmore, Johnson-Quimby recently held its fourth annual candle ceremony for people to remember lost loved ones. Local ministers were on hand to provide comfort and spiritual guidance.
They know how difficult the holidays can be for many.
Around south Alabama, a Coffee County man killed himself with a shotgun last weekend, and sadly, the Covington County Sheriff's Department reported Wednesday that a young local woman had taken her own life.
Mental health professionals and law enforcement agents agree that it's imperative for loved ones to take note of certain signs that might indicate a person near and dear to them is contemplating such a horrendous possibility.
Watch for changes, stark and subtle, in a person's behavior. If they're sad or depressed, ask them if they would like to talk. Withdrawal from friends and relatives, anti-social behavior, mood swings, a newfound interest in weapons or death, and many other factors are possible indicators that a person could be contemplating suicide.
If you suspect that someone close to you – or just an acquaintance for that matter – is thinking of taking his or her own life, take a step toward offering help.
If you're thinking of commiting suicide, know it is not the answer. Life, as bad as it may seem, is meant for living. For confidential assistance in dealing with this issue, call toll-free 1-800-239-4673(HOPE).

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