We can’t possibly know all the factors that lead someone to suicide. Cornell’s family suspects the side effects of his prescription drugs may have played a role; Cornell told his wife he had taken “an extra Ativan or two” that night, according to People.
But we do know that this time of year can be especially difficult for people grappling with mental health issues. Sadly, research shows there is a peak in suicides in the spring.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates spike in the spring and to a lesser extent in the fall—not around the holidays as everyone suspects. And suicides in general have increased 24% between 1999 and 2014, according to a CDC report released last year.
Another possible culprit for feeling low this time of year is seasonal affective disorder: It's typically associated with winter, but warmer temperatures and brighter days aren't always enough to lift the blues. What's more, seeing cheery people all around you is a constant reminder that others are having a good time when you aren't, says Michelle Riba, MD, professor and associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center.