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Suicide among female nurses

27 October 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 19

Data concerning women who died by suicide while employed as nurses over a 6-year period (2011-2016) determined that female registered nurses appear to be at significantly higher risk than the population generally. More than half of the nurses who died were not in contact with mental health services. There is a need to improve access to mental health care in nurses, just as there is a need in many groups (National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH), 2020).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2017) identified female nurses as having a risk of suicide 23% above the risk of women in other occupations. Currently, there have been no national studies undertaken to determine factors that are associated with suicide specifically in this population. The provision of robust and reliable data could enable the development of interventions and prevention measures. It should be noted that the available information does not include data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic – right now, these numbers are more likely to be even higher. Burnout among healthcare providers hit new levels during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and for some this will continue. The stress from long hours and the constant exposure to severely ill or deceased patients takes a massive toll on the mental health of some nurses.

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