These are the same guys who tell you that suicide is irrational, and yet: Psychologist suicide: Incidence, impact, and suggestions for prevention, intervention, and postvention
Large surveys have indicated that psychologists are at risk for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidality. In a national sample of 800 psychologists, Pope and Tabachnick (1994) found that most participants had been in therapy, and, of those, 61% reported that they had suffered at least one episode of clinical depression. Over one in four (29%) disclosed that they had felt suicidal, and nearly 4% reported having made a suicide attempt. Likewise, in a sample of over 1000 randomly sampled counseling psychologists, Gilroy, Carroll, and Murra (2002) found that 62% of respondents self-identified as depressed. Of those with depressive symptoms, 42% reported experiencing some form of suicidal ideation or behavior. Finally, in a 2009 APA Colleague Assistance and Wellness Survey, it was found that 40-60% of the responding practitioners reported at least a little disruption in professional functioning due to burnout, anxiety, or depression. Eighteen percent acknowledged that they had had suicidal ideation while dealing with personal and professional stressors or challenges (American Psychological Association, 2010).
Dr. Boxer and his colleagues (Boxer, Burnett, and Swanson, 1992) completed a case control study in which occupation-coded death certificate data was collected on white males (ages 20-64) who had suicide as an ICD-9 coded cause of death in 25 states during the period of 1979-882. The control group consisted of white males (ages 20-64) who had died of any natural cause during this same time period and were matched for state of residence. Using an unconditional logistic regression analysis, while controlling for age, marital status, socioeconomic status, and contributory mental disorders, the authors found a significantly elevated odds ratio of 3.47 for male psychologists, while male pharmacists, male physicians, and male dentists had significantly elevated odds ratios of 3.35, 2.88, and 1.7 respectively.
Proportionate Mortality Ratios (PMRs) were calculated for all occupations, psychologists included. The PMR for suicide for psychologists, aggregated across all ages, both genders, and all races, was 166 (95% CI [139, 197], p<.01) indicating an increased risk of suicide4. PMRs were also calculated for psychologists by gender and race. White male psychologists (ages 15-120) were found to have an elevated risk for suicide (PMR=161; 95% CI [128, 199], p<.01) as were white female psychologists (ages 15-120) (PMR=212; 95% CI [154, 285], p<.01).
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