There are some job positions which have higher suicide rates than others, according to the estimates. Is your profession on the list?
Many of us have thought our jobs have sucked at some point in our lives, but would we kill ourselves over our careers? Apparently, there are professions with high suicide rates where this is more likely.
According to a US report from the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention, low paid, manual laborers who face uncertain employment and typically work on their own are prone to committing suicide. In particular, this group includes fishermen, farmers and lumberjacks. Also at risk are builders, electricians, carpenters and miners, with mechanics following in third place.
Despite the stereotype of an overworked teacher, this profession, alongside other educators and librarians was at the opposite end of the spectrum with low suicide rates.
You would possibly think that doctors and nurses would also be under a great deal of stress. But in the US at least, they had an 80% lower suicide rate than the farmers and fishermen.
The full list of professions with the highest suicide rates
Here is the full list compiled by the CDC:
1: Fishermen, farmers, lumberjacks, workers in agriculture or forestry: 85 out of 100,000.
2: Builders, carpenters, miners, electricians: 53.
3: Mechanics, maintenance workers, repairers, installers: 48.
4: Production and factory workers: 35.
5: Architects and engineers: 32
6: Firefighters, police, corrections workers, others in protective services: 31.
7: Artists, designers, entertainers, athletes, media: 24.
8: Computer programmers, mathematicians, statisticians: 23.
9: Transportation workers: 22
10: Corporate executives and managers, advertising and public relations: 20
11: Workers in the legal system: 19
12: Doctors, dentists, health care professionals: 19
13: Scientists and lab technicians: 17
14: Accountants, others working in financial institutions: 16
15: Nursing, medical assistants, health care support workers: 15
16: Clergymen and women, social workers, other social service workers: 14
17: Real estate agents, telemarketers, sales-personnel: 13
18: Building and ground maintenance, cleaners: 13
19: Cooks, food service workers: 13
20: Childcare workers, barbers, animal trainers, personal care and service workers: 8
21: Office workers, administrative support workers: 8
22: Education, training, librarians: 8
Suicide rates in the US
The study, despite being the largest in the US to cover suicide rates in the US, was not all-inclusive. It only covered 17 of the 50 states of America, and of the 40,000 suicides reported in the whole of the US in 2012, studied just 12,300.
This means that the study can only examine very broad descriptions for occupations, and not look more closely into specific jobs. For instance, some categories are based on federal classifications such as artists and athletes, which are used mainly for collecting job-related data, but in real-life would not have anything to do with each other.
Because of this, the study cannot reveal the exact suicide rate for fishermen, or teachers, or reporters. However, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US, with many of the general public believing that those who commit this tragic act are in their late teens or early adulthood.
Public opinion is often wrong, as it is in this case, with the majority of suicides committed by middle-aged men. The study showed that suicide indeed is much more common in males per se, with the study reflecting this data in the way they ranked the professions.
As for females, the professions in which they were most at risk were the police-force, firefighters and corrections officers. Next at risk was the legal profession.
Suicide rates in the UK
It would appear, however, that suicide rates differ depending on which country you are working in.
For instance, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has partly agreed with the results from the CDC, with data that shows construction workers are three times more likely to kill themselves than average. However, it also revealed that care workers in both genders were also at a higher risk, as were women who worked in culture, media and sport.
It is thought that women in the media or in a cultural environment were under pressure from the media to look good and were constantly scrutinized by the public, which could lead to feelings of low self-esteem.
The ONC also shows that nurses and doctors are at a greater risk, which perhaps is unsurprising, given the current situation in the UK, with many healthcare professionals being asked to work longer hours under a pay freeze. Because doctors and nurses have access to drugs which, alongside their knowledge of how to use them, this profession seems to attract those who already have suicidal tendencies.
The ONS showed that those who worked in highly skilled occupations, such as chief executives, managers and senior officials, had the lowest suicide rates.
So to conclude, it would seem that you are at risk depending on where you live. If you reside in the US, you are more likely to commit suicide if you are low paid, work in a manual job and face an uncertain future. However, those in the UK should be wary of jobs that include nursing, doctors, jobs in the media and sport if you are a woman.