The suicide rate among the US working age population has increased 34% between 2000-2016 according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report recently published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), examined lifetime occupations of over 22,000 people between the ages of 16-64 years old, who died by suicide in the 17 states participating in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) in 2012 and 2015.
Between 2012 and 2015, suicide rates were highest among males in the Construction and Extraction occupational group (43.6 and 53.2 per 100,000 civilian non-institutionalized working persons, respectively) and highest among females in the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media group (11.7 and 15.6 per 100,000, respectively).
Suicide rates increased during that same time period most for males in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations (47%) and for females in Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations (54%).
(Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death and is also currently in the top 5 leading causes among ages 10 to 54. Public health and violence prevention practitioners and researchers are united by a common goal: reduce factors that increase risk (i.e. risk factors) and increase factors that promote resilience (i.e. protective factors). To help amplify their impact, CDC is working to promote a consistent definition of suicide and associated terms, and to encourage the use of evidence-based suicide prevention strategies. These efforts help assure a uniform understanding of and approach to the issue which contributes to accurate reporting and surveillance, adherence to proven interventions, and opportunities to enhance existing prevention strategies and develop new ones. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and YouTube. Posted on Aug 27, 2018.)
“Increasing suicide rates in the U.S. are a concerning trend that represent a tragedy for families and communities and impact the American workforce,” said Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director, CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
“Knowing who is at greater risk for suicide can help save lives through focused prevention efforts.”
Suicide risk varies by occupation
Top 3 major occupational groups by suicide rate among males in 2015
- Construction and Extraction
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Top 3 major occupational groups by suicide rate among females in 2015
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media
- Protective Service
- Health Care Support
Among both males and females, the lowest suicide rate in 2015 was observed in Education, Training, and Library occupations.
(Learn More. Suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and YouTube. Posted on Jun 7, 2018.)
A closer look at suicide among agricultural workers
This new report replaces a retracted report, “Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012,” that included errors in researchers’ manual classification of decedents’ major occupational group (e.g., erroneous coding of farmers to the Farming, Fishing, and Forestry group instead of to the correct Management group).
This led to errors in reported suicide numbers and rates by occupational group. More information about the retraction is available on the MMWR website.
(American farmers are killing themselves at five times the rate of the population as a whole as agriculture faces financial headwinds. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Jun 22, 2018.)
The new report includes separate analysis of selected agriculture-related detailed groups:
- For males in the Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Occupational Managers category (a sub-group of the Management major group), the corrected 2012 suicide rate was 44.9 per 100,000 civilian non-institutionalized working persons and the 2015 suicide rate was 32.2.
- For males in the Agricultural Workers category (a sub-group of the Farming, Fishing, and Forestry major group), the corrected 2012 suicide rate was 20.4 per 100,000 civilian non-institutionalized working persons and the 2015 suicide rate was 17.3.
(Musician Zach Williams created this suicide prevention public service announcement upon the release of his song “Fear is a Liar.” Thank you, Zach, for raising awareness of suicide prevention resources like the Lifeline. Courtesy of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org, 1-800-273-TALK  and YouTube).
Suicide prevention at work
The workplace is an important place for suicide prevention efforts because the workplace is where many adults spend a great deal of their time.
Workplace suicide prevention strategies include employee assistance programs, workplace wellness programs, technology to provide online mental health screenings and web-based tools, reduction of stigma toward help-seeking and mental illness, and increased awareness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org, 1-800-273-TALK ).
(Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is a serious public health problem. Learn about CDC’s role in preventing suicide. Courtesy of the Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and YouTube. Posted on Oct 2, 2018.)
CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policies, Programs, and Practices and the National Violent Death Reporting System can help states and communities prioritize prevention efforts and address persistent upward trends in suicide rates.
As a reminder, media can avoid increasing risk when reporting on suicide by:
- Following and sharing recommendations available at reportingonsuicide.org (for example, avoiding dramatic headlines or explicit details on suicide methods)
- Providing information on suicide warning signs and suicide prevention resources, and
- Sharing stories of hope and healing.