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Workplace Suicides Up Sharply Since 2007

Highest rates seen in men; older workers; and those in farming, fishing, forestry, protective service jobs

WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Since 2007 there has been a sharp increase in workplace suicides, with certain occupations at higher risk, according to a study published online March 16 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Hope M. Tiesman, Ph.D., from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, W.V., and colleagues calculated suicide rates using data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injury, the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, the 2013 Current Population Survey, and the 2000 U.S. population census.

The researchers found that 1,719 people died by suicide in the workplace from 2003 to 2010. There was a general decrease in workplace suicide rates until 2007, at which point they sharply increased (P = 0.035). Over the study period, non-workplace suicides increased (P = 0.025). Men had the highest rates of workplace suicide (2.7 per 1,000,000), as did workers aged 65 to 74 years (2.4 per 1,000,000); those in protective service occupations (5.3 per 1,000,000); and those in farming, fishing, and forestry (5.1 per 1,000,000).

“Occupation can largely define a person’s identity, and psychological risk factors for suicide, such as depression and stress, can be affected by the workplace,” Tiesman said in a journal news release. “This upward trend of suicides in the workplace underscores the need for additional research to understand occupation-specific risk factors and develop evidence-based programs that can be implemented in the workplace.”

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