CDC Releases Report on Suicides by Occupation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its most comprehensive study yet on suicide rates by occupational groups, expanding the information of what jobs might have higher risks for suicide.
The report provides new light on suicide rates by occupations, but more importantly it advocates for increased community connectedness, enhanced social support, access to preventative services, and the reduction of stigma to help-seeking in the workplace.
While released July 1, the study focuses on deaths by suicide of people aged 16 and older in 17 states that were reported in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System in 2012. Researchers split occupations into 30 categories and analyzed the deaths by suicide of men and women, a first-time and robust effort by the CDC.
The report finds that people working in the “farming, fishing, and forestry” category had the most deaths by suicide per capita of any occupation for men. Women in the “protective services” category, such as police officers and firefighters, had the most deaths by suicide per capita of any occupation for women.
“Occupational groups with higher suicide rates might be at risk for a number of reasons, including job-related isolation and demands, stressful work environments, and work-home imbalance, as well as socioeconomic inequities, including lower income, lower education level, and lack of access to health care,” according to the report.   
The report advocates for increased workplace approaches to suicide prevention. It states that workplace wellness programs for supervisors and employees can help them intervene on behalf of coworkers if they are exhibiting signs of suicidal ideation. Employee assistance programs can also help serve as gateways to behavioral health treatment. The report also suggests employers make online screening tools available and web-based prevention tools to increase awareness of mental health issues.
“Evidence-based suicide prevention strategies implemented in the workplace have the potential to reduce the numbers of suicides among all occupational groups,” according to the report.
The CDC hopes to expand on its research in the coming years to have a better idea what risks may be attributed to certain occupations. The National Violent Death Reporting System expanding from 17 states in 2012 to 32 states in 2014. The CDC plans to look at those figures in the future in the hopes of examining occupational trends over time.
To view the report visit: