THURSDAY, June 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for suicide have been identified among health care professionals, according to a study published online June 10 in JAMA Surgery.

Yisi D. Ji, D.M.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues identified all 170,030 individuals who died from suicide in the United States between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2016, and classified them into health care professionals and non-health care professionals; health care professionals were further classified into surgeons, nonsurgeon physicians, and dentists.

The researchers found that 767 individuals (0.5 percent) who died from suicide were health care professionals, including 63.2, 23.3, and 13.4 percent nonsurgeon physicians, dentists, and surgeons, respectively. Risk factors for suicide among health care professionals compared with the general population included having Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry, job problems, civil legal problems, and physical health problems and currently receiving mental illness treatment (odds ratios, 2.80, 1.79, 1.61, 1.40, and 1.45, respectively). The risk for suicide was lower for health professionals compared with the general population if they had black ancestry or were female or unmarried (odds ratios, 0.55, 0.44, and 0.36, respectively). Compared with the general population, health care professionals who died by suicide were less likely to have problems with intimate partners or alcohol use (odds ratios, 0.71 and 0.58, respectively).

“Our data suggest a need for increased screening of health care professionals,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to a venture capital company and to Memora Health.

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