Most dentists are suicidal

Frequency of suicides among doctors and dentists in Upper Bavaria


A survey in Upper Bavaria (population 3.3 million) identified 119 suicides committed by medical practitioners (67 men and 27 women) and dental practitioners (19 men and 6 women) during the 16-year period 1963–1978. All suicides were traced, using the records of the Bavarian Boards of Physicians and Dentists and the files of the public prosecutors' offices. The suicide rate for male doctors was 1.6 times that for all male adults over 25 years of age in Upper Bavaria. The rate for women doctors was 3.0 times, for male dentists 1.3 times (not significantly raised), and for female dentists 2.9 times the corresponding rates for the male and female adult populations. - In all four subgroups the suicide rate was higher for persons living in surrounding rural or semirural areas than for those living in Munich, the state capital. In 59% of cases, suicide was committed by self-poisoning. Male doctors tended to commit suicide below the age of 55, male dentists above that age and female doctors and dentists between the ages of 45 and 65. Practitioners who had moved to Upper Bavaria were somewhat more likely to commit suicide than those born in the area . Suicide rates were much increased among those who were divorced, widowed or living alone, as compared with married persons. In many instances of an intact family life had never existed, had broken down shortly before the suicide, or was threatened with collapse (by fatal illness, divorce or separation). The suicide rate was high among persons who had no children or whose children had left home. Of those persons who were still of working age, 69.5% were active in their professions and a further 11.5% were in other forms of employment. Before their death, 15.8% had been ill or otherwise unable to work for some months and 55.5% were known to have had psychiatric treatment in the past (in 17.6% up to the week preceding suicide), while 41.2% had been in psychiatric inpatient care and 37.8% had previously attempted suicide. The data are discussed in relation to the findings of comparable studies in other countries.


In the period from 1.1. 1963–31.12. In 1978 there were 67 suicides by doctors, 27 suicides by women doctors, 19 suicides by dentists and 6 suicides by female doctors in Upper Bavaria. This suicide could be comprehensively based on the documents of Bayer. State Medical Association and Dental Association can be found and evaluated on all deceased doctors and dentists, as well as on the basis of the public prosecutor's investigation reports. The number of suicides among the doctors is 1.6 times, among the women doctors 3.0 times, among the dentists 2.9 times significant, with the dentists 1.3 times not significantly higher than the suicides among men over 25 years of age or female population of Upper Bavaria. All four groups show a lower number of suicides in the city of Munich than in Upper Bavaria without Munich. The most common suicide method used was medication. Most of the doctors died under the age of 55, the dentists over the age of 55 and the doctors between the ages of 45 and 65 as a result of suicide. The majority come from other regions with regard to their place of birth. An intact family life with a spouse and / or parents has either never existed, has recently broken up or is in danger of falling apart (death, divorce or separation). You are childless or the children no longer live in the household. You hardly ever work as a doctor, you are more likely to be retired, unemployed, have been sick for months or have been outside your job. They are actually or imagined seriously somatically ill or chronically disabled, especially mentally ill, especially depressed and / or addicted, have already attempted suicide and have already received psychiatric treatment on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

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  1. Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich

    A. Bämayr & W. Feuerlein

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Bämayr, A., Feuerlein, W. Frequency of suicides among doctors and dentists in Upper Bavaria. Soc Psychiatry21, 39-48 (1986).

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