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January deadliest month of year

18:00 01 February 2014

January is the deadliest month of the year, with the winter months showing a sharp spike in deaths.

Number of deaths per month in Havering in 2013

January: 249

February: 214

March: 196

April: 247

May: 180

June: 149
July: 179

August: 151

September: 146

October: 190

November: 152

December: 213

In 2013, there were 249 deaths in Havering in that month, echoing a trend seen across England and Wales, Office for National Statistics research shows.

December and February were also hosts to a jump in deaths. The Recorder asked its social media followers what they thought caused this.

Jenny Riding, of Romford, said on the Recorder’s Facebook page: “All the bills and fares are rising in January. People cannot cope.”

While it is often thought that suicide rates rise in the bleak post-Christmas months, mental health charity Mind dismissed this. “It’s a bit of a myth that suicide increases at that time,” a spokesman said.

Lynne T took to Streetlife to say: “The very cold weather and freezing ice is a recipe for accidents and for old folks to die from lack of heating.”

A spokesman for Havering Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is a fact that there are more deaths in winter than warmer months.

“This is mainly due to the fact health problems among older, frail people and those with long-term health problems, such as lung and heart disease, can get worse as the weather gets colder.”

The council run schemes to try and combat this.

Cllr Steven Kelly, cabinet member for individuals, said: “There are a number of schemes in place to help keep people warm over the winter months, as well as help prevent accidents, through our falls prevention programme.”

The council’s warmer scheme offers grants for qualifying residents to help them replace old heating systems, while the falls programme offers exercises for the over-65s identified as being at risk.

Mind added that it is more likely for an increase in suicides to come in springtime.

This may explain the pattern shown in the statistics – in Havering there were 247 deaths in April.

The Mind spokesman said: “The general thinking is that during the winter time if people are affected by depressive episodes they’re more likely to take their own lives when they have their energy levels back up in spring.”

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