Year: 2021 Source: Psychiatry Research. (2021). 295, 113594. SIEC No: 20210046

Suicide is a significant concern among fire service due to high rates of suicide behaviors. The aim of this study was to describe suicides among firefighters using national suicide death data. Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System for 722 firefighters and 192,430 non-firefighters were analyzed to compare sociodemographics and risk factors between firefighter and non-firefighter decedents; and among firefighters based on suicide means. A greater proportion of firefighter decedents died by firearm compared to non-firefighters. Firefighter decedents were less likely to have been diagnosed with depression, but more likely to have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder compared to non-firefighters. A greater percentage of firefighter decedents had a relationship or physical health problem prior to death, but a lower percentage had a history of suicide thoughts/attempts. Among firefighter decedents, multivariate analysis showed physical health problems and disclosing suicide intent predicted death by firearm. Greater awareness of risk factors, reduced access to lethal means, and ensuring access to behavioral health services may aide in decreasing suicide mortality in this population. These findings should be interpreted with caution due to limitations concerning report accuracy, generalizability, small female sample size, and inclusion of data only for lethal suicide attempts.