October 17, 2019

New NIOSH Page Collects Information on Suicide and Occupation

NIOSH recently published a new web page focused on ways to prevent suicide in the workplace. According to the agency, some occupations have higher rates of suicide than others. For example, an analysis of data from 2012 and 2015 published last year in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that construction and extraction was the major occupational group with the highest male suicide rate. The occupational group with the highest female suicide rate was arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media. Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found a higher than expected number of suicide deaths among U.S. veterinarians.

NIOSH stresses that many factors affect individuals’ risk for suicide. Job factors thought to contribute to increased risk of suicide by occupation include low job security, low pay, and job stress. Access to lethal means—or the ability to obtain things like medications and firearms—may also contribute to someone’s risk for suicide.

NIOSH recommends increasing access to health and behavioral healthcare services to help reduce and prevent suicide. Employers can also promote a protective environment for workers by encouraging employees to ask for help; assessing and referring employees to services such as mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, or financial counseling; and developing crisis response plans for post-suicide events.

NIOSH’s new page also collects workplace tools, scientific articles, and resources related to suicide and occupation.