Suicides Peak During Holiday Season: Fact or Fiction?

by Alicia Pryor
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - The common misconception is that suicides peak during the holiday season, that's not the case for folks in Ector County.

"We find in Ector County that as far as us going out on calls the month of December is usually slower for us than after the holiday," Crisis Counselor, Billy Alexander, said.

National studies show suicides decrease during the Christmas season and that's the same case in West Texas.

The misconception is that among the holiday cheer lies loneliness and depression, two feelings associated with suicide. 

Suicidal thoughts can happen in anyone, no matter their race or economic class.

"What we have to do is try and get them in a safe environment," Alexander said.

Crisis counselor Billy Alexander and his crisis group work around the clock to help those who have thoughts of suicide.   

One of their main goals is to help someone get through whatever tough time their facing, whether it be economically, financially or even in the classroom.

"Student's face pressures of being away from home. They dabble in drugs, sex and alcohol especially since it's their first time away from authoritative figures like parents, aunts and uncles," Doctor Tom Stanger, Director of Counseling at UTPB, said. 

Stanger says college students face an uncertain amount of stress. Working to keep that scholarship or just to keep from failing, makes for tense times during the course of a semester.

"Certainly we will deal with suicidal students. If somebody does express suicidal thoughts this will be the first place they should come," Stanger said.

"We go wherever, we're called to go. The police may call us, we go to people's homes, we go wherever we're called to go," Alexander said.

Although suicides have not been proven to peak during the holiday season both Stanger and Alexander agree that if they can help someone from taking their own life, it doesn't matter what season or time of the year it is.

Ector county crisis workers want you to know that there is help out there if you need it.

They can take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you need help, you can call 570-3300 or 333-3265.