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April 9, 1973

Suicide Rates Among Psychiatrists

JAMA. 1973;224(2):246-247. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220150054021

To the Editor.—  A high suicide rate among psychiatrists (58 to 65/100,000 compared with that of the general population, 11/100,000) has been reported by the following: Freeman, Blachly et al, DeSole et al, and Pond.1-5 No specialty trends were noted by Craig and Pitts and Simon and Lumry.6,7 Blachly et al, De Sole et al, Freeman, and Craig and Pitts all utilized The Journal's obituaries for their samples, but each found a slightly different suicide rate and each had a different explanation for their findings. From published obituaries, these investigators have drawn conclusions about psychiatrists in general. Goppelt's8 criticism of Freeman's study is also applicable to those of Blachly et al, De Sole et al, and Craig and Pitts, "such conclusions cannot be more reliable than the data on which they are based. Because of the well-known under-reporting of suicide, the reliability of such data is low."