By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — While the holiday season can bring with it many moments of joy, police see a darker side of the stresses these times can produce.

Mike Schuh reports that Baltimore County is bringing some solutions to your attention. 

Decorate the house and shop, shop, shop. It’s a time which brings with it extra stresses.

Officials say in this tough economy, the pressure that expectations bring can make it an emotional and economic stressful time for many.

So Baltimore County is getting the word out about holiday stress on two fronts. The first is as a cause of violent crime.

“I call these unhealthy behaviors, the ‘Too Much Syndrome:’ too much drinking, eating, too much arguing, too much drugging,” said Dr. William Branch, Baltimore County health officer.

It’s enough to send people over the edge.

Lisa Spicknell shared her story.

Twelve years ago, her husband killed their two children.  She urges families and those in crisis to get help.

“The more people who reach out, the more willing the victim is to get help,” said Spicknell.

The county is also talking about holiday stress as a factor in people who kill themselves.

“The cases of violence and suicide against one another don’t occur at the spur of the moment. It takes months or years leading up to these tragedies,” said Chief James Johnson.

But before it gets to that, the use of three numbers — 911 — and a telephone could prevent holiday tragedies.

Specialized help is available for those in crisis.  In an emergency, a 911 operator can direct such a call to the appropriate responder.

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