Men who work in construction and extraction had the highest rates of suicide in the United States, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For women, suicide rates were highest among those who work in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media.
From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among the US working-age population — people 16 to 64 — increased 34%, the report says.
Using information from the 17 states that participated in the 2012 and 2015 National Violent Death Reporting System, the CDC analyzed the suicide deaths of 22,053 Americans of working age. Occupations were classified using the Standard Occupational Classifications from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2015, the construction and extraction field had the highest rates of suicides for men, with 53.2 suicides per 100,000 working people. Women in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media had a suicide rate of 15.6 per 100,000 working people in 2015.
Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media saw the largest increase in suicides among men: 47% from 2012 to 2015.
For women, the largest increase — 54% from 2012 to 2015 — was among food preparation and serving-related occupations, such as chefs, bar managers and baristas.
The occupational groups with the highest rates of suicide for men were:
- Construction and extraction: jobs such as carpenters, electricians and miners
- Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media: jobs such as illustrators, tattooists and professional sports players
- Installation, maintenance and repair: jobs such as mechanics, cable installers and commercial divers
For women, they were:
- Arts, design, entertainment, sports and media: jobs such as illustrators, animators, tattooists and professional sports players
- Protective service: jobs such as police officers, private investigators and TSA workers
- Health care support: jobs such as dental assistants, massage therapists and pharmacy aides
For both sexes, the occupational group with the lowest rate of suicides was education, training and library. This includes jobs such as teachers, professors and archivists. However, the rates for women were too low to report in some occupational fields.
There are some limitations to the research. These results might not be nationally representative because they come from only 17 states, the report notes.
More knowledge about the distribution of suicide by career group could be useful to help inform prevention programs and policies, it said.
“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 say.
Nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016, according to a report released by the CDC this year. Suicide rates rose in nearly every state from 1999 to 2016, and in half of these states, the increase was more than 30%.
When it comes to suicide prevention, the CDC recommends strategies such as “enhancing social connectedness and expanding access to relevant resources, strengthening state or local economic supports, implementing practices that encourage help-seeking and decrease stigma, and providing referrals to mental health and other services.”
How to get help: In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.