Exploring Risk Factors of Suicidal Behaviour among Medical Professionals in the UK: A Retrospective Analysis of Online News Portals

Maruthi Kalyan Challagundla

School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Essex, UK.

Divya Vinnakota

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, London, UK.

Qazi M. Rahman

NHS London, UK.

Ancy Chandrababu Mercy Bai

School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Essex, UK.

Russell Kabir *

School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Essex, UK.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Suicide is a significant global health burden. The demanding nature of the healthcare profession, combined with unique stressors and challengses, puts medical professionals at risk of mental health difficulties, including suicidal ideation and attempts. This study aims to investigate suicidal behaviour among medical professionals in the United Kingdom by reviewing online news portals and focusing on the risk factors associated with suicide. Seven online news portals from the UK were purposefully selected for the study, focusing on news reports of suicides among medical professionals. Only English online news portals were chosen, as English is the standard language in the country. Out of the 61 reports, 37.7% of the reported suicides were among males, and 62.3% were among females. The age distribution of the suicide reports revealed that the majority of the cases are within the 20-30 age range (42.6%). Mental health issues and fear of losing their job were also prominent reasons (24.6%). Suicide among healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom has drawn little attention. Suicide is more prevalent in early adulthood and among female professionals. Nurses, doctors, and junior doctors are more likely to commit suicide.

Keywords: Suicide, health professionals, content analysis, online newspapers, mental health, communications media

How to Cite

Challagundla, M. K., Vinnakota, D., Rahman, Q. M., Bai, A. C. M., & Kabir, R. (2024). Exploring Risk Factors of Suicidal Behaviour among Medical Professionals in the UK: A Retrospective Analysis of Online News Portals. Advances in Research, 25(4), 78–86. https://doi.org/10.9734/air/2024/v25i41083


Download data is not yet available.


World Health Organization. Suicide Key Facts. Suicide (who. int); 2021. (accessed June 24, 2023).

Dutheil F, Aubert C, Pereira B, Dambrun M, Moustafa F, Mermillod M, et al. Suicide among physicians and health-care workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Plos One 2019;14:e0226361. Available:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226361.

Office for National Statistics. Suicides in the UK: 2018 Registrations.. Suicides in the UK - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk); 2019. (accessed June 24, 2023).

Ventriglio A, Watson C, Bhugra D. Suicide among doctors: A narrative review. Indian J Psychiatry. 2020;62:114. Available:https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_767_19.

Milner A, Witt K, LaMontagne AD, Niedhammer I. Psychosocial job stressors and suicidality: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Occup Environ Med. 2018;75:245. Available:https://doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2017-104531.

British Medical Association. Delivery of healthcare during the pandemic BMA Covid Review 3. n.d.

Hawton K. Suicide in doctors while under fitness to practise investigation. BMJ. 2015;350:h813–h813. Available:https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h813.

Schernhammer ES, Colditz GA. Suicide rates among physicians: A quantitative and gender assessment (Meta-Analysis). American Journal of Psychiatry. 2004;161: 2295–302. Available:https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.161.12.2295.

Kõlves K, De Leo D. Suicide in medical doctors and nurses. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease. 2013;201:987–90. Available:https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0000000000000047.

Lawrence D, Wu F, Ireland M, Hafekost K. National mental health survey of doctors and medical students. Beyond Blue; 2013.

Chew NWS, Lee GKH, Tan BYQ, Jing M, Goh Y, Ngiam NJH, et al. A multinational, multicentre study on the psychological outcomes and associated physical symptoms amongst healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak. Brain Behav Immun. 2020;88:559–65. Available:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.049.

Chew Q, Wei K, Vasoo S, Chua H, Sim K. Narrative synthesis of psychological and coping responses towards emerging infectious disease outbreaks in the general population: Practical considerations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore Med J. 2020;61:350–6. Available:https://doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2020046.

Bourne T, Wynants L, Peters M, Van Audenhove C, Timmerman D, Van Calster B, Jalmbrant M. The impact of complaints procedures on the welfare, health and clinical practise of 7926 doctors in the UK: A cross-sectional survey. BMJ Open. 2015;5(1):e006687.

Horsfall S. Doctors who commit suicide while under GMC fitness to practise investigation. General Medical Council; 2014.

Kivimäki M, Virtanen M, Vartia M, Elovainio M, Vahtera J, Keltikangas-Järvinen L. Workplace bullying and the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2003;60(10):779-783.

Vinnakota D, Parsa AD, Arafat SMY, Sivasubramanian M, Kabir R. COVID-19 and risk factors of suicidal behavior in UK: A content analysis of online newspaper. J Affect Disord Rep. 2021;4:100142. Available:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2021.100142.

Windsor-Shellard B, Gunnell D. Occupation-specific suicide risk in England: 2011–2015. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;215(4):594-599.

Niederkrotenthaler T, Reidenberg DJ, Till B, Gould MS. Increasing help-seeking and referrals for individuals at risk for suicide by decreasing stigma: The role of mass media. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2014;47(3):S235-S243.

Pruneti C, Fiduccia A, Guidotti S. Electrodermal activity moderates the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation in a group of patients with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. 2023; 14:100673.

Barberis N, Cannavò M, Cuzzocrea F, Verrastro V. Suicidal behaviours during COVID-19 pandemic: A review. Clinical Neuropsychiatry. 2022;19(2):84.