A recent article addressed suicide rates by occupation (see: Jobs With Highest Suicide Rates Identified). Suicides are a major public health problem in various types of jobs as well as in the military (see: U.S. military suicides remain high for 7th year). Below is an excerpt from the article:
Individuals with jobs in farming, fishing, and forestry have the highest suicide rates, followed by those working in construction, according to an analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2012, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with roughly 40,000 deaths by suicide reported....From 2000 to 2012, rates of suicide jumped 21%, from 13.3 to 16.1 per 100,000....Suicide rates may be high in these occupations for a number of reasons, including job-related isolation, stressful work environments, and work-life imbalance....In addition, farmers' long-term exposure to pesticides may affect the neurologic system and contribute to depressive symptoms. Workers in installation, maintenance, and repair jobs may also have long-term exposure to neurotoxic solvents. Overall, the lowest suicide rate ― 7.5 per 100,000 ― was among education, training, and library workers. The findings, the investigators note, suggest that men working in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations and women working in protective services occupations may benefit from targeted suicide prevention efforts.They point out that evidence-based suicide prevention strategies implemented in the workplace have the potential to reduce the number of suicides among all occupational groups. On that front, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NAASP) Workplace Task Force has developed the Comprehensive Blueprint for Workplace Suicide Prevention, which addresses suicide prevention strategies, such as screening, mental health services and resources, suicide prevention training, life skills and social network promotion, and education and advocacy.
Here's an interesting general comment about the frequency of suicide from the NAASP web site referenced above (see: Suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem):
Suicide takes life without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race, or gender. Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans, the 2nd leading cause of death for adults ages 25-34, and the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24. The legacy of suicide continues long after the death, impacting bereaved loved ones and communities. Fortunately, there is strong evidence that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates. In fact, suicide rates have been declining among both American youth and elders for well over a decade, two groups on which the nation has focused most. There are other population groups, though, for which the death toll is rising.
It's worth the time to focus on the three major causal factors in suicide noted above: (1) job-related isolation, (2) stressful work environments, and (3) work-life imbalance. All three are certainly common in farming, fishing, and forestry as well as in the military. However, I think that it would be difficult to implement suicide prevention strategies broadly in these industries. They often involve the work of small companies or individuals with thin profit margins and thus not always amenable to public health initiatives. This whole topic needs more attention.