Suicides of Psychologists and Other Health Professionals: National Violent Death Reporting System Data, 2003–2018

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Suicide is a prevalent problem among health professionals, with suicide rates often described as exceeding that of the general population. The literature addressing suicide of psychologists is limited, including its epidemiological estimates. This study explored suicide rates in psychologists by examining the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's data set of U.S. violent deaths. Data were examined from participating states from 2003 to 2018. Trends in suicide deaths longitudinally were examined. Suicide decedents were characterized by examining demographics, region of residence, method of suicide, mental health, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior histories. Psychologists' suicide rates are compared to those of other health professionals. Since its inception, the NVDRS identified 159 cases of psychologist suicide. Males comprised 64% of decedents. Average age was 56.3 years. Factors, circumstances, and trends related to psychologist suicides are presented. In 2018, psychologist suicide deaths were estimated to account for 4.9% of suicides among 10 selected health professions. As the NVDRS expands to include data from all 50 states, it will become increasingly valuable in delineating the epidemiology of suicide for psychologists and other health professionals and designing prevention strategies. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-564
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Health professionals
  • Mental health
  • Psychologist
  • Suicide
  • Violent death
  • Violence
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Cause of Death
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Homicide
  • Female
  • Population Surveillance

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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