Architects set themselves immensely high personal standards and then harshly evaluate their performance based on higher benchmarks. Often, they believe it’s their parents, bosses, or spouses who expect them to be perfect. Sometimes, they impose their high standards on everyone else and so develop unrealistic expectations of other people.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is perhaps the largest US study to compare suicide rates among occupations, shows that Architects and Engineers rank fifth in the list of jobs that are linked to suicide. Rates for each profession were calculated by the number of suicides per 100,000 population. The worst rate among white-collar workers was 32 suicides per 100,000, suffered by architects and engineers, in fifth place overall. Lawyers were in the middle of the rankings, in 11th place, followed by doctors and dentists, while religious clergy and social workers were in 16th place. The highest female suicide rate was seen in the category that includes police, firefighters and corrections officers. The second highest rate for women was in the legal profession.

Wendy McIntosh, one of the authors of the study and a health scientist in the CDC’s division of violence prevention, pointed out to a main takeaway of the study: “Knowing suicide rates by occupation provides employers and other prevention professionals with an opportunity to focus on suicide prevention programs and messages.” The research can help guide employers or industries develop their strategies for reducing the incidence of suicide, McIntosh added. Those plans can include ensuring that employee assistance and workplace programs are in place to help managers and other staff recognize warning signs, as well providing technology-based mental health tools.


The CDC’s occupational suicide list:

1. Farmworkers, fishermen, lumberjacks, others in forestry or agriculture (85 suicides per 100,000)

2. Carpenters, miners, electricians, construction trades (53)

3. Mechanics and those who do installation, maintenance, repair (48)

4. Factory and production workers (35)

5. Architects, engineers (32)

6. Police, firefighters, corrections workers, others in protective services (31)

7. Artists, designers, entertainers, athletes, media (24)

8. Computer programmers, mathematicians, statisticians (23)

9. Transportation workers (22)

10. Corporate executives and managers, advertising and public relations (20)

11. Lawyers and workers in legal system (19)

12. Doctors, dentists and other health care professionals (19)

13. Scientists and lab technicians (17)

14. Accountants, others in business, financial operations (16)

15. Nursing, medical assistants, health care support (15)

16. Clergy, social workers, other social service workers (14)

17. Real estate agents, telemarketers, sales (13)

18. Building and ground, cleaning, maintenance (13)

19. Cooks, food service workers (13)

20. Child care workers, barbers, animal trainers, personal care and service (8)

Because of the limited data, the study could calculate suicide rates only for broad occupation categories, but not for specific jobs. The categories, which sometimes seem to group professions that have little to do with each other, like athletes and artists, are based on federal classifications used for collecting jobs-related data.

However, the report is not comprehensive, as it only covers 17 states, looking at about 12,300 of the more than 40,000 suicide deaths reported in the entire nation in 2012. The study delves deeper into the connection between perfectionism and self-harm and finds this personality trait to be a bigger risk factor when it comes to self-destruction than previously thought.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

This will connect you with a crisis center in your area.

Other Resources

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20016-3007
Phone Number: (202) 966-7300
Fax: (202) 966-2891
Email Address: [email protected]
Website URL:

American Association of Suicidology
Phone Number: (202) 237-2280
Website URL:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Phone Number: 888-333-AFSP (2377)
Website URL:

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.. It's Free !
Email confirmation is required. Please check your Junk E-mail folder just in case !
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.. It's Free !
Email confirmation is required. Please check your Junk E-mail folder just in case !