Right now, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34.
In 2012, roughly 40,000 people died by suicide. Since 2000, these numbers have increased, with the overall rate of suicide for people aged 16 and older rising 21 percent. This means that there were 13 suicides per every 100,000 people in 2000 and 16 suicides per every 100,000 people in 2012.
One way in which clinicians are attempting to curb the rising rate of suicide is by identifying common risk factors. By providing people who are at-risk for suicide with preventative mental health care, it may be possible to save their lives.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, common risk factors of suicide include:
A recently published study by the CDC suggests that there may be yet another risk factor for suicide: your occupation.
Occupations with the greatest suicide risk
For whatever reason, certain careers are more closely associated with suicide than others, according to the CDC. The research team, led by Wendy LiKamWa McIntosh, looked at data obtained from 17 states using the 2012 National Violent Death Reporting System.
From this data, the researchers found that farmers, fishers and foresters had the highest rate of suicide at 85 deaths per 100,000. Men in this career were at a higher risk than women, with a rate of 90.5 suicides per 100,000.
The full list of occupations and their associated suicide risk is below:
What makes some careers riskier than others? It’s difficult to say, although the researchers do have some suspicions.
“People working in certain occupations are at greater risk for suicide due to job isolation, a stressful work environment, trouble at work and home, lower income and education and less access to mental health services,” said McIntosh.
McIntosh also noted that certain careers may encourage “social isolation and unwillingness to seek mental health services” for fear of being labeled as weak.
“To reduce these suicide rates, employers need to focus on suicide prevention at the workplace, including employee-assistance programs and trainings to spot signs of suicide,” said McIntosh.
Researchers still have a long way to go before they understand all of the risk factors associated with suicidal behavior. With the information we have right now, however, we can start to take concrete steps towards helping individuals before their lives are claimed by suicide.
Sovereign Health provides patients with treatment programs designed to address mental illness by treating it at its source, the brain. From the moment our patients contact us, we work with them to be sure that we know what they need and what we can provide as a solution. We treat our patients as individuals rather than as a diagnosis and therefore take each person’s unique history into account while designing the treatment program. For more information on how we can help with those struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact our 24/7 helpline.
About the author
Courtney Lopresti, M.S., is a senior staff writer for Sovereign Health, where she uses her scientific background to write online blogs and articles for a general audience. At the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her master’s in neuroscience, she used functional neuroimaging to study how the human cerebellum contributes to language processing. In her spare time, she writes fiction, reads Oliver Sacks and spends time with her two cats and bird. Courtney is currently located in Minneapolis.