Highest Suicide Rate by Profession

Occupational activities are usually considered as a source of personal development and economic growth of nations, yet it has been observed that certain occupations are associated with a fairly high rate of mortality due to emotional and psychological stressors leading to suicide. Research and clinical data suggested that certain occupations especially in healthcare sector (like doctors and nurses) along with veterinarians are among the most common professionals who commit suicide learn about the professions associated with highest suicide rates for both male and female.

Professions Associated with Highest Suicide Rates

So far there are no clear guidelines or well defined risk factors that may suggest how certain occupations are associated more with occupation associated suicide. Moreover, no national level study has been conducted that can identify or highlight this risk more carefully, yet some local studies as well as assumptions made from general and official statistics suggested following occupations reportedly have a higher suicide rate.

1. Physicians Among the Top Suicidal

A number of studies suggested that physicians have a higher rate of attempting and committing suicide. In general population, the overall prevalence of suicide is 1-2%; however, in physicians this rate can be as high as 2- 4%. But it should be remembered that the other 96 to 98% have a very healthy and productive lifestyle with overall better quality of life than general population.

The most significant determinants are: availability and access to highly lethal drugs in sufficient quantities; knowledge about the toxic or lethal dose that make more attempts successful.

The rate of female physician suicide is equal to male physician suicide as opposed to general population in which females are four times less likely to attempt suicide. The causes include psychological stressors, work load, stressful working conditions, higher chances of sexual harassment and other similar factors. Likewise, female physicians also feel “more deprived” of their family time and other social activities that may lead to depression.

2. Studies from National Occupational Mortality Surveillance (NOMS)

NOMS (or National Occupational Mortality Surveillance) employ PMR database that collects, organize and integrate the mortality information according to 3 primary age groups (ranging from group I that include individuals from 15-54 years; group II that includes 15-64 and group III with individuals above the age of 65 years. The age-specified data is the organized according to the gender, racial factors, occupations (with a list of over 500 occupations), and industries (over 300).

Various summary statistical tables are available on the website of National Occupational Mortality Surveillance; however, special information can also be ordered by placing the inputs to generate individual analysis. Below are the results:

18 Professions Where People Most Likely To Kill Themselves (White Men)

Data for white males is the primary focus because of the high demographical representation of white males.


Times More Likely to Commit Suicide than Average


1.87 times


1.67 times


1.54 times

Finance workers

1.51 times


1.50 times

Heavy construction operators


Urban planners

1.43 times

Hand molders

1.39 times

Sellers of real estate


Assemblers of electrical equipments



1.33 times

Lathe operators

1.33 times

Farm managers

1.32 times

Operators of heat treating equipments

1.32 times


1.31 times

Precision woodworkers

1.3 times


1.29 times

Natural scientists

1.28 times

White Women

  • Among white women, physicians are at the highest risk as discussed previously. The rate is 2.78 higher when compared to non- physician general population.
  • Likewise, sales related jobs are equally stressful with male dominance and sexual harassment issues leading to a higher rate of 2.43 when compared to general population.
  • The third highest risky profession that is associated with suicide is women in law enforcement agencies (detectives and police), with a rate of 2.03 times than that of general population.

Black Men

  • Highest suicide rate in black men is reported in detectives and police officers (2.55 times higher)
  • Operators of furnaces are 2.01 times more likely to commit suicide
  • Third highest occupation- associated suicide rate is noted in electricians (1.78 times than that of general population)

Black Women

  • Black women in protective service jobs are 2.78 times more likely to commit suicide
  • Second highest rate of suicide is reported in sales representatives (who are twice as likely than average)
  • Third highest occupational suicides in black women are reported in packaging service operations (the rate is about 1.96 times than that of general population)
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