Suicide and Work

Picture of Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD

Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD

University of Iowa

Picture of Carri Casteel, PhD

Carri Casteel, PhD

University of Iowa

Work and Workplace Characteristics Associated with Suicide

Suicide prevention programs are becoming more common in workplaces because of the psychological and financial toll a suicide can take on a workplace. The workplace can play an important role in preventing suicides, and most programs involve steps to recognize at-risk individuals and refer them to services. However, little evidence informs these programs, including the frequency and circumstances of the workplace that contribute to suicide risk. Detailed information to tie suicide to work-related factors are scarce in existing databases. The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) offers the first opportunity to examine specific circumstances that tie suicide to occupational and workplace factors. The NVDRS is a CDC-based national surveillance system that provides a comprehensive review of suicides using death certificates, autopsy reports, and death investigations. This project will use data from the NVDRS to:

  1. Identify and describe the prevalence of work-related factors among all suicides
  2. Identify the prevalence of suicide circumstances that indicate some work or occupational relation (e.g. financial stress, job loss, occupational stress) and compare the prevalence of these to other circumstances (e.g. substance use, mental health disorder/diagnosis, family/partner stress)

This information can be used to guide suicide prevention programs in the workplace.