June 6, 2019 – Suicide Timing


Anchor lead: Spring is the time to watch carefully for suicides, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Now that days are longer and summer is almost here, we’re all feeling better, right? Not so, says Adam Kaplin, a psychiatrist and mood disorders expert at Johns Hopkins. Kaplin notes that suicides actually peak in the spring.

Kaplin: One-third of people before they go on to attempt suicide will visit their primary care practitioner within a week, and two-thirds within a month. And they’re not coming in and saying hey I’m suicidal, they’re coming in and saying I’m fatigued, something’s not right. This is the time of year that people are going to go on an attempt or complete suicide so this is the lifesaving time to especially be aware and cognizant that if your patient’s coming in with some of these nonspecific symptoms that could be harbingers of an underlying mood disorder then you’re got to start screening.  :32

Kaplin believes inflammation plays a role, and spring is when pollens and molds can cause body-wide inflammation, but says more research needs to be done to prove the connection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.