What is it about?

We studied the suicides of psychologists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals based on data from the CDC's National Violent Dearth Reporting System. For psychologists and selected health professions, i.e., physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, and veterinarians, we report the number of suicide decedents between 2003 and 2018. For psychologists, we summarize the number of suicides reported per year, demographics of decedents, region, circumstances and methods. We also examine rates of suicide for these professions in 2018 by comparing the number of deaths by suicide with estimates of the workforce for each profession.

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Why is it important?

Whereas there has been increasing interest in the wellbeing of health professionals, relatively little is known about the suicides of health professionals. Exploration of the epidemiology of suicide in health professions is one step toward developing greater awareness of factors that may contribute to incidence. Hopefully greater understanding of these trends will be instructive in efforts to decrease the incidence of suicides of health professionals.


By elucidating the deaths by suicide of psychologists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals we hope to generate greater awareness and frank discussion about this critical topic. Exploring factors that may contribute to distress that leads to suicides and strategies for ameliorating them will hopefully reduce incidence of these tragic events.

Dr. William N Robiner
University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Suicides of psychologists and other health professionals: National Violent Death Reporting System data, 2003–2018., American Psychologist, April 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/amp0001000.
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