Nursing Profession Suicide Rates At Alarming Levels
The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is deeply concerned by the findings of a new study, ‘Suicide by health professionals: a retrospective mortality study in Australia, 2001-2012’, by researchers led by Deakin University’s Dr Allison Milner. The results of the national study reveal that the rate of suicide for female nurses and midwives was almost three times higher than females in other professions. The suicide rate for male nurses and midwives was almost twice as high as males in other professions.

ACN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said, “the results of this study are alarming. Suicide affects many people, not just the individual who took their own life. Nurses have families who love them and communities who rely on them, to lose them in this way is deeply saddening.”

The study states that some of the reasons for the higher rate of suicide by female and male nurses is the particularly demanding nature of the job. Contributing factors such as long hours and work life balance play a prominent role, with anxiety also a potential risk factor for suicide.

Adjunct Professor Ward said “nurses are incredibly good at looking after patients but we must make sure that they are looking after themselves. Adequate and appropriate support initiatives targeting suicide prevention are absolutely critical. Suicide is preventable and we must make sure that families and work colleagues look out for warning signs and support vulnerable individuals who may be at risk. No one wants to hear of a death by suicide. ACN strongly supports suicide prevention initiatives in hospitals and workplaces employing nurses.”

ACN encourages anyone that needs help to contact any of the following helplines:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890