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Suicide, the intentional taking of one’s own life is never an easy subject to discuss. Even with the global emphasis on mental health, suicide rates are still over the roof. More shocking, however, is the even higher rate of suicide among female nurses.

The study, conducted on nurses and physicians by researchers from the University of Michigan, found that female nurses were 70% more culpable of committing suicide than female physicians and twice as much as the rest of the female population.

Matthew Davis, lead author of the study, says that these figures are much higher than he expected. He observes that the study goes to show that we’ve focused on physicians’ wellness and ignored nurses.

The study observes that female nurses face much tougher challenges than any other group of health workers. Some of these challenges are unique to them, while some are common to all health workers. Let’s look at some of the factors that have influenced these worrying figures.

The pandemic

Although the suicide rates among female nurses were still rising before the emergence of covid 19, the pandemic has seen these numbers shoot further up. With the pandemic came a myriad of problems like more work, financial problems, and general fear of the unknown, especially since nurses are front-line workers.

Little mental healthcare for female nurses

While some effort has been made to improve physicians’ mental health during the pandemic, not much has been done to replicate the same to nurses. Nurses need mental health support just as much or even more than physicians because they spend more time with patients and have a larger workload in general.

The resulting effects are that female nurses are generally afraid to seek for help when they have mental health issues. The stigma around mental health problems doesn’t help either.

Problems at home

According to the study, male nurses are just as likely to commit suicide as any other male. The difference with female nurses is that they are under much more pressure. Some have dependents like parents and children to take care of. Some are expected to take care of household chores after long hours of work, unlike their male counterparts.