Female veterinarians are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population as compared to the male veterinarians who are 2.1 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. This statistics is according to an analysis published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The analysis was conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers. The analysis reviewed the death records of 11,620 veterinarians from 1979 to 2015. The analysis showed that men made up for 82 % of suicides by veterinarians during the period of study, the ratio being 4.6 to 1 as compared to the ratio of male to female of about 3.6 to 1 in general population.
For more than 30 years, consistent research has shown that due to occupational stress, depression, anxiety and burn out, veterinarians are at higher risk of suicide than the general population.
The researchers of CDC said that veterinary school selects applicants on the basis of perfectionism so that the candidates can meet the rigorous academic requirements.
They added that perfectionism is often related to higher risk of mental illnesses that include depression and anxiety.
The researchers also suggested that veterinarians have an easy access to pharmaceutical drugs that are generally used for animal euthanization.
The analysis also showed that in the U.S. the %age of female veterinarians is 60 %. It also noted that while among female veterinarians the %age of deaths by suicide has remained constant from 2000, the number of deaths by suicide have risen as women’s number in the profession has grown steadily.
According to the analysis, women are also more likely to use poison to kill themselves than men who are more likely to use firearms.
The CDC researchers also warned that the high suicide rates could have been biased due to incomplete data. But they also added that the data highlights the need for comprehensive strategies for suicide prevention of this particular population.