CDC Report: Suicide Increasing Among American Workers

Source: Vector Illustration - 123RF

The suicide rate among the US working-age population increased by 34 percent during 2000-2016.

A new report published last week in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) examined lifetime occupations of 22,053 people aged 16-64 years old who died by suicide in the 17 states participating in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) in 2012 and 2015.

In 2012 and 2015, suicide rates were highest among males in the Construction and Extraction occupational group (43.6 and 53.2 per 100,000 civilian noninstitutionalized working persons, respectively) and highest among females in the Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media group (11.7 and 15.6 per 100,000, respectively).

From 2012 to 2015, suicide rates increased most for males in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations (47 percent) and for females in Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations (54 percent).

Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director, CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said, “Increasing suicide rates in the U.S. are a concerning trend that represents a tragedy for families and communities and impacts the American workforce,” adding, “Knowing who is at greater risk for suicide can help save lives through focused prevention efforts.”

Top 3 major occupational groups by suicide rate among males in 2015, are:

  1. Construction and Extraction;
  2. Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media; and
  3. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair.

Top 3 major occupational groups by suicide rate among females in 2015

  1. Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media;
  2. Protective Service; and
  3. Health Care Support.

Among both males and females, the lowest suicide rate in 2015 was observed in Education, Training, and Library occupations.

The workplace is an important place for suicide prevention efforts because the workplace is where many adults spend a great deal of their time.

Workplace suicide prevention strategies include employee assistance programs, workplace wellness programs, technology to provide online mental health screenings and web-based tools, reduction of stigma toward help-seeking and mental illness, and increased awareness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (, 1-800-273-TALK [8255]).

CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policies, Programs, and Practices and the National Violent Death Reporting System can help states and communities prioritize prevention efforts and address persistent upward trends in suicide rates.