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CDC report on worker suicide calls for enhanced prevention strategies

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Atlanta — Suicide prevention strategies for workers are needed to help mitigate rising workplace suicide rates, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests.

Researchers examined 22,053 suicides in 17 states that were recorded in the National Violent Death Reporting System between 2012 and 2015. They found that men in construction and extraction had the highest suicide rate, which stood at 53.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2015, up from 43.6 in 2012. The highest rate for women was seen among those working in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media – 15.6 in 2015, an increase from 11.7 in 2012.

The largest suicide rate increase seen during the four-year period was in the arts, design, entertainment, sports and media group for men (to 39.7 deaths per 100,000 workers from 26.9); for women, the largest suicide rate increase was seen among those in the food preparation and serving related field (to 9.4 from 6.1).


According to previous research conducted by CDC, the workplace suicide rate among workers 16 to 64 years old climbed to 17.3 in 2016 from 12.9 in 2000, a 34 percent increase.

“Increasing suicide rates in the United States are a concerning trend that represent a tragedy for families and communities and impact the American workforce,” Deb Houry, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a Nov. 15 press release. “Knowing who is at greater risk for suicide can help save lives through focused prevention efforts.”

CDC offers suicide prevention strategies for employers. Among them:

  • Implement employee assistance and workplace wellness programs.
  • Provide access to online mental health screenings and web-based tools.
  • Help reduce the stigma surrounding seeking assistance for mental illness.
  • Increase awareness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255.

The study was published in the Nov. 16 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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