New Study Finds Higher than Expected Number of Suicide Deaths among U.S. Veterinarians
Veterinarians in the U.S. are at an increased risk of suicide, a trend that has spanned more than three decades, according to a new CDC study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).
The study is the first to show increased suicide mortality among female veterinarians. Female veterinarians were 3.5 times as likely, and male veterinarians were 2.1 times as likely, to die from suicide as the general population. Seventy-five percent of the veterinarians who died by suicide worked in a small animal practice.
Since 2000, the proportion of female veterinarians who died by suicide has remained stable at 10 percent; however, the number of deaths has increased steadily. An earlier study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found female veterinarians have a higher prevalence of risk factors for suicide including experiencing depression and suicide ideation and attempts. Today, more than 60 percent of U.S. veterinarians are women. In 2017, of the 110,531 veterinarians in the U.S, 66,731 were female and 43,662 were male.
“Our findings suggest mortality from suicide among veterinarians has been high for some time - spanning the entire 36-year period we studied,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “This study shines a light on a complex issue in this profession. Using this knowledge, we can work together to reduce the number of suicides among veterinarians.”
As in the general population, firearms were the most commonly used method of suicide among veterinarians. However, 37 percent of suicide deaths among veterinarians were caused by pharmaceutical poisoning, which is 2.5 times higher than pharmaceutical poisoning among the general U.S. population. Sixty-four percent of deaths among women and 32 percent of suicide deaths among men in the veterinary profession were from this type of poisoning.
Read the whole article on the website of CDC.
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