Police: Holiday blues can be deadly for some - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Police: Holiday blues can be deadly for some

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Shannon Lewis took her own life in November 2014. Shannon Lewis took her own life in November 2014.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is the most wonderful time of the year for a lot of people, but not everyone is smiling. Professionals handle an influx of calls from people dealing with severe depression during the holidays.

The lights, decorations and presents under the tree all sound good, but in some cases it can trigger deep and even deadly depression.

Everywhere you go in Ella Ray's home it looks like Christmas, but it doesn't feel that way. Ray is grieving recent death of her daughter. 

In November, 42-year-old Shannon Lewis took her own life.

"There's not a package wrapped -- I just -- I can't," says Ella Ray, Shannon's mother. "We actually got a call from one of her co-workers."

Ray explains, "She didn't go to work and they got concerned, they went to check on her at about two in the afternoon and they found her."

The news was both devastating and shocking to the family.

Ray says her daughter suffered from depression and it was always worse during the holidays. "You could always tell at Christmas, she never would help decorate, she never wanted to get into that."

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In my line of work, it's not so surprising because people come to us for help for those sorts of reasons," says Doctor Felicia D. Smith, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

Doctor Smith is also co-owner of Strong Minds. "For some people, this time of year amplifies the stress that they feel," she explains.

Smith also says despite the bright lights of the season, it is not uncommon for people to find themselves tangled in a web of depression. That's why it's important to pay attention to the warning signs. 

"Sometimes it's just in a casual conversation and they tell you that they are struggling or having a hard time and you should take that seriously," Doctor Smith says.

"She didn't talk about it, she never talked about it, she and I never talked about it at all and I regret that," says Ray.

That's why Ella Ray is talking, hoping her grief or tragedy will help someone else.

"If it would keep one person from -- another family from going through what we are going through," she says.

While we were working on this story on Monday, Metro Police responded to a home of a person with a self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound.

At least other police agency says they respond to more suicides during the holiday season than any other time of the year.

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