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What are Jobs with the Highest Suicide Rates?

Published by Nanni on Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo credit by Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer

Nobody wants a depressing job. Unfortunately, some occupations just seem to take a higher toll on their employees than others. For many years, suicide rates have been used as a somewhat morbid way to find the most depressing jobs that are commonly available. Here's a look at a few occupations with much higher than average suicide rates.

Doctors and Other Medical Professionals - The main component of depression and suicide among doctors is stress. Hospital doctors must make decisions on a daily basis that can cause deaths. Minor mistakes can cause lifelong trauma for patients. Over the course of years, this wears down on medical professionals. Long hours can also be a factor. Staying "on call" for extreme periods of time can cause stress to multiply. Many modern hospitals keep strict schedules to ensure that their doctors are getting an appropriate amount of rest.

Security Guards - Security guards have very high stress jobs at low pay levels. Many security guards are also forced to work night shifts. These shifts can be extremely lonely, and take a hard toll on the personal life of the workers. Night shifts can disrupt sleep patterns to the point where biological depression becomes a serious issue. The chemical that makes the human body tired and depressed, melatonin, needs to be carefully kept at the correct level. Most people don't have any problem keeping their melatonin levels correct. However, melatonin is maintained via exposure to sunlight. When security guards and other night workers sleep through the day, they're sometimes unable to regulate their biology correctly.

Pilots - The schedule of pilots is extremely demanding. Many pilots must stay away from their families for weeks or even months at a time. It can be hard to make personal connections without being anchored to the same place. Personal relationships become hard to upkeep. Pilots must also deal with inordinately high levels of stress, and pay is often fairly low. These factors combine to make the profession very personally dangerous. However, pilots are screened extremely carefully before being hired. This screening process stops many at-risk individuals from taking the job.

Artists - Artists tend to have high suicide rates, especially in certain social classes and gender roles. For example, female artists and sculptors are more likely to take their own lives than the general population. Artists often have very demanding schedules and extremely emotional work. Rejection and poverty can cause depression for these artists.

Remember, suicide can't be conclusively blamed on a certain occupation. There are often a myriad of factors at play when a person decides to take his or her own life. While some jobs have statistically higher suicide rates, that doesn't mean that they're not enjoyable for the vast majority of people in those professions. The old science adage, "correlation does not equal causation" should certainly be considered. Suicidal people may be more likely to take these jobs than healthy, happy individuals.

Do you know of any other jobs with high suicide rates? Post in our comments section below.

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