Viral Facebook chain post continues to recycle misinformation about suicide

You have probably seen it in your Facebook feed this week


HOUSTON – You have probably seen it in your Facebook feed this week -- a message from one of your friends talking about hospitality and suicide awareness.

The chain post reads, in part, “My door is always open, coffee is always on, and my sofa is always warm and a place of peace and non-judgment. Any of my family and friends who need to chat are welcome anytime. It's no good suffering in silence. I have cold drinks in the fridge tea and coffee in the cupboard, and I will always be here. I'll always lend an ear and a shoulder. You are ALWAYS welcome!”

The widely circulated message concludes in various ways, but some at some point the message highlights suicide awareness, citing a so-called day dubbed “Blue Monday,” or the most depressing day of the year.

There’s no scientific evidence for “Blue Monday,” nor for a rise in suicides in January.

In an article by The Atlantic, a psychiatrist and the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – the organization cited in the viral Facebook post – pointed to evidence that the kind of stress that leads to suicide isn’t associated with a particular time of year. Instead, the article said, people are driven to end their lives because of factors like genetics, trauma, mental illness and access to guns.

Suicides tend to rise in the spring and summer, according to research cited in The Atlantic.

But if you did share the message, it's still an uplifting thought that one of your friends just might need on a bleak, cold day in January.