Before the pandemic began, suicide risk was twice as high among female nurses compared with American women as a whole, a new study warns.

Even within the health care community itself, female nurses were found to be roughly 70% more likely to die by suicide than female doctors.

Why? Study author Matthew Davis said that for now, “We don’t know for certain what forces are directly responsible for the higher risk of suicide among nurses. It could be related to high job demands, lower autonomy compared to physicians, avoidance of mental health services for fear of stigma, [and] greater access to the means to complete suicide,” meaning prescription drugs.

Not only that, but the pandemic “has added enormous strain to health care workers, particularly nurses who provide the vast majority of bedside care,” said Davis, an associate professor in the Department of Systems, Population and Leadership at the University of Michigan.

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