10 Professions With the Highest Suicide Rates

Fishing boat
Yavuz Sariyildiz / Shutterstock.com

Occupations involving manual labor in the elements — fishing, farming and tree-felling — were ranked among the deadliest jobs by the federal government in the fall.

Now federal data show workers in those occupations also have the highest suicide rates, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The CDC recently analyzed suicide data by what it calls “occupational group” to help with prevention efforts, explaining:

Knowing that suicide rates vary by occupation gives employers and prevention professionals the opportunity to improve suicide prevention programs and messages.

Prevention strategies noted by the CDC include promotion of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at www.SuicidePreventionLifeline.org and 800-273-8255.

The data analyzed by the CDC came from the National Violent Death Reporting System, which collects information from multiple sources to help officials monitor and understand trends.

The most recent data from the system are for 2012 and come from 17 states.

Based on the CDC’s analysis, the occupational groups with the highest suicide rates are:

  1. Farming, fishing and forestry: 84.5 suicides for every 100,000 people in the occupation
  2. Construction and extraction: 53.3
  3. Installation, maintenance and repair: 47.9
  4. Production: 34.5
  5. Architecture and engineering: 32.2
  6. Protective service: 30.5
  7. Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media: 24.3
  8. Computer and mathematical: 23.3
  9. Transportation and material moving: 22.3
  10. Management: 20.3

The group that includes education, training and library workers has the lowest rate, with 7.5 suicides for every 100,000 workers.

The CDC notes that possible explanations for high-risk occupations include:

  • Job-related isolation and demands
  • Stressful work environments
  • Work-home imbalance
  • Socioeconomic inequities, including lower income, lower education level and lack of access to health services

Farmers face additional factors that could affect their risk, including the potential for financial losses and access to lethal means.

Construction workers, whose industry is often connected to the economic cycle, also face financial concerns related to lack of steady employment.

The CDC’s analysis also found that suicide has increased in general.

In 2012, around 40,000 suicides were reported in the U.S., making suicide the 10th leading reported cause of death for people who are at least 16 years old. That translates to a rate of 16.1 suicides per 100,000 people in that age group — compared with 13.3 suicides per 100,000 people in 2000.

Do these numbers surprise you? Let us know why by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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