Jobs can be stressful. With constant deadlines, long hours, and many demands from superiors, it can force people into an unstable frame of mind. When this happens for a prolonged period of time, people may feel like they don’t have a way to achieve the life that they want. They may want to inflict as much pain on someone else as possible, yet not want to physically harm them. The end result becomes a suicide attempt.
Facts About Suicide In Different Professions
1. The suicide rate for physicians can be as high as 4% in a given year. This makes them 1.87x more likely to commit suicide then the rest of the general population.
2. 1.67x. That’s the increased risk of a dentist committing suicide.
3. Medical professionals make up 4 out of the top 5 top professions where workers commit suicide because of their job every year in the United States.
4. White women who are doctors are the most likely to commit suicide, with a risk that is 2.78x that of the general population.
5. Women who work in a sales job [2.43x] or in law enforcement [2.03x] have doubled their risk of suicide with their career choice.
6. For African American men, those who are working in law enforcement have a 2.55x higher risk of suicide than the general population.
7. For African American women protect service jobs [military service, social work, law enforcement] have the highest rates of suicide at 2.78x the general population rates.
8. According to the CDC, lawyers rank 4th in suicides in the United States. Lawyers are 3.6x more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
9. The most pronounced increases of suicide has been seen among men in their 50’s, a group in which suicide rates jumped by nearly 50%, to about 30 per 100,000.
10. From a global perspective, farm workers are the most likely of any profession to commit suicide. The exact numbers for farmer suicides is difficult to determine because farmer deaths are often reported as hunting, equipment or farming accidents instead of suicides.
11. India yearly reports more than 17,627 farmer suicides.
12. In France, a farmer dies by suicide every 2 days and Australia reports one farmer suicide every 4 days.
13. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In comparison, homicides are the 16th leading cause of death in the US.
14. Occupations that have easy access to the means to commit suicide generally have higher than average worker suicide rates.
15. Socio-economic status worker suicides almost doubled over 25 years from 11.4% in 1979-1980 and 1982-1983 to 20.7% in 2001-2005.
16. For women in 2001-2005, suicides by professional athletes had the highest per capital suicide rate per 100,000 workers. Artists had the second highest suicide rate.
17. For men in 2001-2005, those working as beauticians or in a related occupation had the highest suicide rate, being above 120 per 100,000 workers. Coal miners were in second, at just above 80 per 100,000.
18. In 1979, Veterinarians were the top profession for suicides for both men and women. In 2005, Veterinarians ranked third for women and didn’t even make the top per capita list for men.
19. Men in every age demographic are more likely to use a firearm to commit suicide than any other method.
20. Women in the 10-24 age demographic are more likely to commit suicide by suffocation than any other method.
21. Women in the 25-64 age demographic are more likely to poison themselves. Women above the age of 65 will use a firearm or poison at about the same level.
22. Since peaking in 1991, per capital suicide rates in the United States have decreased for the over 65 and 10-24 age demographics, by risen for the 25-64 age demographic.
23. In 2009, the rate among the 25 to 64 year age group was 16.25 suicides per 100,000 people.
24. 11% of people who work as a personal care provider report having at least one major incident of depression.
25. Although 1 in 10 food service personnel report feeling severe depression, women in this industry are 50% more likely to experience the issue.
26. Men who are writers are the most likely to be associated with a mood disorder. 7% of men who are in the creative arts also experience regular episodes of major depression.
27. Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year and most who attempt suicide never seek out any form of professional care.
28. There 2x as many suicides in the US than people who die because of HIV or AIDS.
29. There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
30. The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression, but substance abuse is considered a major risk factor.
31. The number of emergency room visits every year because of a self-inflicted injury: 400,000.
32. 3 out of 4 workers who commit suicide are white men. 80% of those men will use a firearm to commit suicide.
33. 750,000. That’s the total number of suicides that are believed to be attempted every year.
34. Although men are more successful at committing suicide, there are 3 suicide attempts by women for every 1 attempt made by a man.
35. 1 out of every 64 Americans has attempted suicide at least once. 7 people will attempt suicide in the next 17 minutes. Thankfully only 1 of them will be successful in their attempt.
36. In the US, workers in the South are 3x more likely to commit suicide than workers in the Northeast.
37. 75% of global suicide occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
38. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally.
39. It is estimated that 3.7% of the U.S. population, or 8.3 million people, had thoughts of suicide in the past year.
40. 1 out of every 100 people will develop a plan to commit suicide in the next year and 50% of those with a plan will follow throughout with it.
41. Whites are 2.4x more likely to commit suicide than African Americans.
42. When depression is present for an employee, their risks of suicide increase by 20x over the general population without depression.
43. Only 1 in 4 people who have depression will receive the adequate care that they need.
We all need money to survive. Money helps people find food, provide a home, and maintain a lifestyle. Obtaining money is a daily struggle at times that can become overwhelming. Although any job can provide the foundation that eventually leads a worker to suicide, there are a few occupations that have bigger risks than others.
Although there are no national level studies that examine career-related suicide, there are some local level studies that have been completed in an attempt to identify and highlight risks. As of right now, here are the suicide statistics by profession that are known.
What Explains the Increase In Suicides?
Although certain professions are seeing increases in suicide rates, the current family dynamic in the US seems to be playing a large role in statistical increases that are seen. Baby Boomers are in a place where they must care for aging parents, support their adult children, and still try to juggle their career while making all ends meet. It’s a unique family structure that the US has not really seen in the past and when combined with the lack of retirement savings in this generational demographic, the stress levels are often quite high.
Why Is There So Much Data Confusion?
The problem with profession-related suicides is that only local data has been collected. This local data is then extrapolated to a national level in order to come up with suicide rates. Because there are so many regional variations in careers, different regions are going to have different rates. In Kentucky, for example, more than 7,000 lawyer suicides have been documented. In other areas, fewer than 100 have been documented.
Instead of focusing solely on the statistics of suicide, we need to focus on each person that is working with us on a regular basis. Recognizing the warning signs of suicidal thoughts and then acting to intervene is incredibly important, especially in careers where there are high rates of depression and/or mental illness present. People who feel trapped, stressed out constantly, or increase their use of drugs and alcohol in high risk careers may be exhibiting the danger signs of a suicide.
If someone has been exhibiting these signs and then is suddenly calmer or happier, then it can be an indication that they’ve created a suicide plan and are preparing to implement it. This is especially true if they’ve been settling their affairs, giving away items that are treasured, or visiting people they haven’t seen in several years.
In the US, in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK. Professions can be demanding, but there is always a way out that doesn’t involve a permanent solution like suicide.