Which industries and/or occupations have the highest prevalence of depression and suicide?

Updated: Sep 02, 2020
  • Author: Louise B Andrew, MD, JD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Although no profession or occupation is immune to depression, it is recognized that certain occupations and professions may be more susceptible to depression and suicide, either because of pre-existing depressive tendencies upon entering the profession or occupation, or because of occupational hazards encountered. A 2014 claims-based survey of depression in industry analyzed rates for clinical depression in 55 industries and found that they ranged from 6.9 to 16.2%. Industries with the highest rates tended to be those that required frequent or difficult interactions with the public or clients, and had high levels of stress and low levels of physical activity. [21]  The medical profession has the highest risk of death by suicide of any profession or occupation for several reasons (see Physician Suicide). In all populations, the existence of depression coupled with knowledge of and access to lethal means dramatically increases the risk for suicide. In addition to medicine, other high control and highly regulated professions such as law enforcement, military, and the legal profession may be more likely to experience depression and less likely to seek intervention because of the associated stigma and possible licensure implications. Certain common conditions, such as PTSD in military, and burnout in healthcare providers, [22] may either be confused with or may contribute to the onset of depression. Recent research suggests that suicide is 3 times more likely in individuals who have experienced a concussion, so occupations that might result in head injuries may be predisposed to suicide, with or without concomitant depression. [23]

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