Suicide risk higher among nurses than general public

Nurses are at a higher risk for suicide compared to the general public, suggest the findings of a new study published Feb. 3 in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing.

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health analyzed 2005-16 suicide data from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System. The data covered 1,824 nurse suicides and 152,495 suicides among the general public.

The suicide rate for female nurses was 10 per 100,000 population, compared to 7 per 100,000 for the general female population. Male nurses also demonstrated higher suicide rates (33 suicides per 100,000 population compared to 27 per 100,000).

"Female nurses have been at greater risk since 2005 and males since 2011," lead author Judy Davidson, DNP, RN, a research scientist at UC San Diego, said in a news release. "Unexpectedly, the data does not reflect a rise in suicide, but rather that nurse suicide has been unaddressed for years."

In a related study published in the same journal, the researchers outline how suicide prevention programs like UC San Diego's Healer Education Assessment and Referral program may help reverse this trend.

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