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Manual Laborers Top List Of Highest US Suicide Rates By Job

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Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have suggested that the type of job a person lands in may affect that individual's odds of suicide.

For certain occupations in the United States, the chances are higher, the CDC revealed.

Furthermore, manual laborers who face steady unemployment and tend to work in isolation topped the list of highest suicide rates in the country, experts said.

Highest Suicide Rates By Profession

From 2000 to 2012, approximately 40,000 people have committed suicide. The agency described that, at the same time period, the overall suicide rates for people aged 16 years old and above increased by 21 percent.

Among farmers, foresters and fishers, however, the suicide rates were much higher. For every 100,000 Americans, 85 farmers, foresters or fishers took their own life. And for men in these jobs, the suicide rate was much higher — 90.5 suicides for every 100,000.

Additionally, high suicide rates were seen in miners, carpenters, electricians and those who work in construction. Mechanics were also close behind.

Health scientist Wendy LiKamWa McIntosh, the lead author of the study and a researcher from the CDC, says people in these occupations are at higher risk for suicide because of job isolation, trouble at home and work, stressful working environments, lower income and lack of access to mental health services.

McIntosh says farmers are unfortunately more at risk because of additional factors such as unwillingness to seek mental health services and social isolation. The report also noted that pesticide exposure may negatively affect their neurological system and contribute to depression.

On the other hand, people who were on personal care and service, office and administrative support, training and education had lower suicide rates than manual laborers. Specifically, doctors and other health care professionals had 80 percent lower suicide rates compared with farmers. Educators, teachers and librarians showed the lowest rate.

Why The Findings Are Important

McIntosh says knowing suicide rates by job provides employers and other professionals an opportunity to focus on suicide prevention programs.

The findings can help guide industries and employers to develop strategies for reducing the incidence of suicide, says McIntosh. These plans can include adding employee assistance and workplace programs that can help staff recognize warning signs, as well as providing technology-based tools for mental health. Companies should also ensure workers can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Meanwhile, the CDC report is limited because it could only evaluate broad occupation categories and not specific jobs. It is not clear what the exact suicide rate is for farmers, scientists or journalists.

Details of the study are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

See the full list below.

Photo: Steve Brand | Flickr

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