Women working in health professions have a rate of suicide which is three times higher than those in other occupations, says a new Australian study.
Researchers said they also found male nurses and midwives had close to double the rate of suicide compared with men in other professions.
This was the first time Australian researchers have conducted a nationwide review of suicides in the medical profession, and they say what they found was alarming.
The research revealed that female doctors take their own lives at nearly three times the rate of the general population.
Female nurses had a suicide risk almost four times greater than women in other jobs.
Deakin University’s Dr Allison Milner, the lead author of the research, said one factor for nurses was the fact that it was a “particularly stressful occupation.”
“The demands of the job include long working hours, high demand, low control over what they’re doing,” she said.
“As well as working in an environment that’s hard to work around your family time and flexibility with rostering.”
Dr Milner said that when looking at female doctors, many of the same explanations applied.
“There was a Lancet paper published in 2009 that also highlighted some of the professional factors that may be involved here,” she said.
“They may fear discrimination from licensing boards about disclosing thoughts of suicide, or disclosing mental illness.”
‘Behind every doctor or nurse is a life with a story’