Suicide is a very serious problem that needs to be made aware and discussed. Unfortunately, individuals in certain professions are more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
Veterinarians: A new study, which was conducted in the United Kingdom, indicates that veterinarians are at higher risk of committing suicide than the general population. According to the study, veterinarians are 4 times as likely to commit suicide than the general population and twice as likely as other health care professionals to take their own lives.
There are several reasons veterinarians may choose to take their own lives. Vets are often responsible for precious pets’ lives, especially in emergency situations. This is undoubtedly very stressful and can lead to depression after a while. Like human doctors, vets aren’t able to save every patient, and this may lead to disheartened feelings, sadness, guilt, and depression. Depression is a huge risk factor for suicide. Furthermore, veterinarians often work in private practice alone; thus, it is speculated that vets are more isolated than individuals working in other professions, which doesn’t give colleagues a chance to notice a problem with depression before the suicide occurs.
The British researchers speculate that because vets euthanize pets so often to end their suffering, perhaps vets feel it is acceptable to kill themselves to end their suffering. Easy access to lethal drugs makes suicide an easy option for vets as well. In addition to the job stress, veterinary school is very expensive and most vets owe a considerable amount of student loan debt. Yet, they are only paid half as much as MDs are. Therefore, some vets may be led to commit suicide over their debt troubles.
Finally, the British researchers say that vet schools only accept high achieving students whom also have some personality traits, such as neurosis, perfectionism, and conscientiousness in common. These personality traits are also risk factors for suicide.
Doctors: It is said that physicians have the highest suicide rate of any occupation. Interestingly, while the rate of male to female suicide in the general population is approximately 4 to 1, among physicians male and female suicides occur at about the same rate, according to Newsweek.
A doctor’s job is very stressful. Often doctors have an overload of patients and they may suffer from compassion fatigue or burnout. Additionally, while doctors are paid well, they have large student loan debt, which may lead to feelings of depression, which is a risk factor for suicide.
Newsweek speculates that doctors may recognize when they are depressed, but don’t often seek treatment for it because doctors may think that seeking treatment for depression makes them less of a doctor. Some doctors might believe that they are supposed to be taking care of patients, not that they themselves should be taken care of.
Doctors, like veterinarians, also have easy access to lethal medications and know how to use them properly to take their own lives. This may make suicide seem like an easy and appealing option to physicians who are feeling depressed.
Dentists: It has long been thought that dentists have one of the highest suicide rates in the occupational field. However, the research seems to be inconclusive. For instance, according to the website The Straight Dope, dentists are 6.64 times as likely as the general population to take their own lives. However, according to a literature review published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, several studies have indicated that dentists are no more likely than the general population to commit suicide.
Despite the controversy over the rate of suicide among dentists, there are several reasons dentists may take their own lives. For instance, according to The Straight Dope, dentists are the least prestigious and respected out of doctors. This may lead to dentists feeling bad about themselves, to depression, and to suicide.
Additionally, many individuals are afraid of dentists and avoid going. Dentists unintentionally cause pain to people while working on their teeth everyday. This may lead to compassion fatigue or burnout, feelings of guilt, helplessness, and depression. Furthermore, dentists, like doctors and veterinarians, have easy access to lethal medications, making suicide an easy solution.
Veterinarians, physicians, and dentists appear to possess the highest rates of suicide in the occupational field. If you notice a colleague or a loved one who seems to be struggling with sadness or depression or who seems to be dissatisfied with his or her work, please encourage that person to seek professional help.
USA Today: Veterinarians More Likely to Commit Suicide:
Veterinary News: An Emerging Occupation Threat:
Newsweek: Docs Who Kill Themselves:
Journal of the American Dental Association: Stress-Related Suicide by Dentists and Other Health Care Workers:
The Straight Dope: Do Dentists Have the Highest Suicide Rates: