Suicidal ideation among the nursing workforce has been a prevalent issue even prior to COVID-19. However, as the pandemic and its impact on behavioral health ensues, so do the rates of suicide and thoughts of suicide. “The need for system-level interventions to improve the work lives of nurses and other members of the health care team is greater than ever before,” stated the co-author of a American Journal of Nursing study.1

To help gain better insight on suicide ideation and an individual’s willingness to seek help, researchers pulled data from a national survey of nurses and general United States workforce members.

Following this assessment, it was reported that:1

  • Nurses without suicide ideation (84.2 percent) showed willingness to seek professional help for a serious emotional problem.
  • Of the nurses who reported having suicide ideation, 72.6 percent were less likely to seek such help versus nurses without suicidal ideation.

Further, 38 percent of nurses reported at least one symptom of burnout, and 43 percent screened positive for depression symptoms. When analyzing the correlation between burnout and suicide ideation, researchers found that the two were strongly associated among the nursing workforce.2

This is supported by the fact that the average bedside Registered Nurse (RN) turnover in 2020 rose to an all-time high of 18.6 percent. This jump, up nearly two percent from 2019, also represented the largest annual increase in seven years, according to the Advisory Board.3

In addition to relief from the pandemic and its impact, behavioral health staff members are also looking for an employer who provides the mental and emotional support needed to help them meet current and future demands of their career. In order to achieve this, hospitals are identifying strategies that will not only benefit their patients but the individuals who care for them on a day-to-day basis.

By supporting staff with additional resources and training within their field, as well as educating them on the importance of seeking help for themselves just as they would their patients is critical for the future health and well-being of the nation as a whole.

Read our white paper, “5 Ways Behavioral Health Expertise Benefits Recruitment and Retention,to learn more about the importance of partnership for employee recruitment and retention and why behavioral health program is essential to a hospital’s long-term outcomes.


  1. O'Connor, J., & Berklan, J. M. (2021, November 4). Nurses more likely to have suicidal ideation than other workers. McKnight's Long-Term Care News. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from
  2. Bean, M. (2021, October 22). Nurses more likely to have suicidal thoughts than other workers, Mayo study finds. Becker's Hospital Review. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from
  3. (2021, October 6). Why so many nurses are quitting (and what to do about it). Advisory Board. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from
By Kindred