Suicide rate increased 40 percent in US from 2000-2017, mining, construction workers at highest risk: CDC report

The suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 40 percent over less than two decades, with adults working in the mining and construction business at a “significantly higher risk” than the general public, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report analyzed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) after the public health institute found that nearly 38,000 people between the ages of 16 to 64 committed suicide in 2017 — a rate of 18 people out of 100,000, compared to 12.9 in the year 2000.

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The study found that blue-collar jobs within specific industry groups were at a significantly higher risk for suicide — including mining and oil, gas extraction, construction and automotive repair. Mining and gas workers had a suicide rate of 54.2 out of 100,000.

“Previous research indicates suicide risk is associated with low-skilled work, lower education, lower absolute and relative socioeconomic status, work-related access to lethal means, and job stress, including poor supervisory and colleague support, low job control, and job insecurity,” the CDC said

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The report cited strategies to improve the overall well-being of workers, including, time off, benefits, reducing access to lethal means, creating a response plan to the needs of others at risk, and training personnel to detect and respond.

Recommended community-based strategies include strengthening economic supports, teaching problem-solving and coping skills, as well as improving access to delivery of care, the CDC said.

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“These findings highlight opportunities for targeted prevention strategies and further investigation of work-related factors that might increase risk of suicide,” according to the CDC.