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Serious workplace injuries increase suicide risk, US study finds

People who have sustained serious workplace injuries are at increased risk of suicide or fatal overdose, according to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Photo credit: iStock-159345206. The research was undertaken by researchers at Boston University

Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health studied data relating to more than 100,000 workers in New Mexico who had been injured between 1994 and 2000, including social security payments, compensation data and cause of death. 

Among the 36,000 whose injuries were serious enough to require more than a week off work, researchers found an almost three‐fold increase in combined drug‐related and suicide mortality hazard among women, and a “substantial increase” among men.

Men who had sustained a lost-time injury were 72 per cent more likely to die as a result of suicide and 29 per cent more likely to die from drug-related causes. Women, meanwhile, were 92 per cent more likely to die from suicide and almost 200 per cent more likely to die a drug-related death.

Fatal drug overdoses and suicides have been increasing in the US since 2000, contributing to a decline in life expectancy, the research found. Although previous studies have looked at links between workplace injuries and rates of depression and opioid use, this is the first to measure excess mortality related to these risks, according to the researchers.


David Gilliver
David Gilliver is a freelance journalist, copywriter and subeditor

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