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These jobs have the highest suicide rates in the country, CDC says

Jobs can be stressful, but there are some that cause more of a mental strain than others, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency recently conducted a study to determine the occupational groups with the highest suicide rates. To do so, they examined data from 17 states that participated in the 2012 and 2015 National Violent Death Reporting System. 

Overall, the researchers analyzed the suicide deaths of 22,053 Americans of working age, and they identified jobs by using the Standard Occupational Classifications set by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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After assessing the results, they found the construction and extraction field, which includes jobs such as carpenters, electricians and miners, had the highest rates of suicide for men in 2015, calculating 53.2 suicides per 100,000 working people. 

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As for women in 2015, careers in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media had the highest suicide rates, with 15.6 suicides per 100,000 working people. Those jobs include illustrators, tattooists and professional sports players.

The largest suicide rate increase among males occurred in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupational group. There was a 47 percent hike between 2012 and 2015. The biggest increase for women between 2012 and 2015 was in the food preparation and serving-related group, where there was a 54 percent surge.

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The education, training and library field, which includes teachers, professors and archivists, had the lowest suicide rates for both men and women.

The analysts were unable to pinpoint a specific reason for the link between certain careers and suicide rates, because they believe there are several explanations.

“The etiology of suicide is multifactorial, and identifying the specific role that occupational factors might play in suicide risk is complicated,” the team explained. “Both work (e.g., little job control or job insecurity) and nonwork (e.g., relationship conflict) factors are associated with psychological distress and suicide.” 

The scientists did note some limitations. They acknowledged the findings were not nationally representative as only 17 states participated. However, they said there should be more knowledge about suicide rates from each career group. 

“A better understanding of how suicides are distributed by occupational group might help inform prevention programs and policies. Because many adults spend a substantial amount of their time at work, the workplace is an important but underutilized location for suicide prevention,” the authors said. “Additional and tailored prevention approaches might be necessary to support workers at higher risk.”

Want to learn more about the evaluation? Take a look at the full report here

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