ERIE, P.A (WICU-WSEE/CW) – The holiday season is known for family, friends and of course, gift giving.

It's also known for its sometimes cold temps and darker skies.

Which is just part of why many believe the suicide rates rise during the winter months.

"But it really is a myth." Community Affairs Manager for Gaudenzia Erie Jason Kisielewski said

Every day, Kisielewski and fellow counselors help people cope with substance abuse, and mental health, which he says can sometimes come as a package deal.

He says the myth surrounding the holidays is promoted every year by the media and in films, such as the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

And contrary to belief, Kisielewski finds the holiday season can actually provide a boost in positive morale.

"Maybe they're surrounded by extended family and friends." Kisielewski said

According to the most recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, November  and December are the lowest months for suicide.*

*Study done in 2015

The highest recorded, was in May.

While there's no specific reason behind the fact, Kisielewski believes people can wind up losing hope after the holidays. Which is why he believes it's important for loved ones to show their support, and for people to be willing to talk, no matter the weather outside.

"The best thing you can do, is just start that conversation.” Kisielewski said “Show them, give them that reminder that there's somebody out there who cares about them."

It may not be the easiest talk to have, but he says just telling someone you're there for them, could be the best gift they ever had.


To get in contact with Gaudenzia Erie, you can visit their website, or call 814-459-4775


National Suicide Prevention Line: Call 1-800-273-8255