Year: 2023 Source: Psychiatry Research. (2023). 323, 115170. SIEC No: 20231465
Some evidence puts health professionals at increased risk of suicide, especially females, whereas other research suggests a lower risk in high-skilled occupations. This study investigated the suicide risk of four health professions (physicians, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists) and three other high-skilled occupations (notaries, lawyers, tax advisors/public accountants) in Austria compared to the general population, and analyzed suicide methods across occupations. Data was collected from professional associations and Austrian cause-of-death statistics to determine suicide cases. Gender-specific standardized mortality ratios (SMRs), crude and age-adjusted suicide rates and frequencies for suicide methods were calculated for each profession (maximum time span 1986-2020). Among males, only veterinarians had a significantly elevated suicide risk compared to the general population. Physicians and tax advisors/public accountants had a significantly lower suicide risk. Among females, the veterinarians, physicians, and pharmacists had a significantly elevated suicide risk; for dentists, it was also elevated, though non-significantly. Age-adjusted suicide rates showed a smaller gap between men and women in all professions compared to the general population. Poisoning was the predominant suicide method among health professions, except dentists. These findings are consistent with some of the prior literature and call for specific suicide prevention efforts in health professions, focusing on women.