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Mental health experts say the holidays are a good time to check up on loved ones

Dr. Dan Reidenberg of SAVE.org says too often, the conversation around mental health doesn’t begin because people are afraid of the answer they’ll hear.

MINNEAPOLIS — Mental health experts say it’s a common misconception that there is more depression and/or suicides during the holidays.

“In fact, November and December are the lowest numbers of suicides that we have throughout the year — when people actually come together, and they're around people,” said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, the executive director of SAVE.org, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention.

But Reidenberg stresses the holidays are still a crucial time to check in with loved ones.

“The holidays are a great time for people to be able to say, 'You don't seem like yourself lately,' or, 'What's going on?'” said Reidenberg. “And then an invitation to say, 'You know, how can I help? Can we talk about this?'”

Reidenberg said that too often, the conversation doesn’t begin because people are afraid of the answer they’ll hear.

“It's one that people think it's difficult to have,” said Reidenberg. “And that keeps them from doing it. And then we sometimes see tragedies; we see people getting sicker and sicker. They feel more isolated; they feel like they can't talk about tack to anybody because nobody has given them that opening to actually start the conversation.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached by dialing 988, helps people considering suicide, as well as their loved ones.

“Folks that are calling 988 at any given time of the year are really calling in, you know, talking about any struggles that they may be having,” said Tanya Carter, the Minnesota Department of Health Suicide Prevention supervisor.

According to Carter, Minnesota has seen about a 43-percent increase in calls since the three-digit number launched this summer.

“There is hope,” said Carter. “There's help, reach out. If you find yourself in a place where you know you're having thoughts of suicide, or maybe struggling at any given day, just know that there is hope there is help. And our 988 Lifeline center staff are available 24/7, 365 days out of the year. And they're always just a phone call, a text or a chat away.”

If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, there is help available from the following resources:

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