In the first national study of its size, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health, Department of Nursing, have found that male and female nurses are at higher risk of suicide than the general population. Results of the longitudinal study were published in the February 3, 2020 online edition of WORLDviews on Evidence Based-Nursing .
Using the 2005-2016 National Violent Death Reporting System dataset from the Centers for Disease Control, we found that male and female nurses are at a higher risk for suicide, confirming our previous studies. Female nurses have been at greater risk since 2005 and males since 2011. Unexpectedly, the data does not reflect a rise in suicide, but rather that nurse suicide has been unaddressed for years." Judy Davidson, DNP, RN, senior author, research scientist at UC San Diego
The World Health Organization reports that one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, occurring at a rate of 13 per 100,000 persons. While overall mortality rates are decreasing in the US, the suicide rate is rising.
Davidson and colleagues found that female nurse suicide rates from 2005 to 2016 were significantly higher (10 per 100,000) than the general female population (7 per 100,000). Similarly, male nurses (33 per 100,000) were higher than the general male population (27 per 100,000) for the same period.
"Opioids and benzodiazepines were the most commonly used method of suicide in females, indicating a need to further support nurses with pain management and mental health issues," said co-author Sidney Zisook, MD, professor of psychiatry , UC San Diego School of Medicine. "The use of firearms was most common in male nurses, and rising in female nurses. Given these results, suicide prevention programs are needed." Related Stories
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