9 Most Depressing Professions

by Staff Writer

Writer: Carol Wilson

It’s easy to get down in the dumps about your job, especially every Sunday night when you realize that the next day is Monday and you have to go to work again. But some careers out there do more than just give workers a case of the Mondays. While people in these fields may be thankful to have a job (the unemployed tend to have higher rates of depression), not every career field is equally fulfilling. Whether it’s the hours, the work itself, or, more than likely, a combination of it all, these professions have higher rates of depression or suicide than most.

  1. Comedians

    It’s hard to believe that someone who is making the world laugh could be depressed. Laughter’s the best medicine, right? But most of us don’t realize the hard work, years of rejection, and lousy paychecks that go along with becoming a professional funnyman. That’s part of the reason comedians are almost twice as likely to commit suicide than the typical American, according to findings by suicide statistician Steven Stack. Many comedians also have tumultuous personal lives and struggle with drugs and alcohol. Some well-known (and unexpected) comedian suicides are SNL cast member Charles Rocket and HBO special regular Richard Jeni.

  2. Waiters

    Have you ever been rude to your waitress at a restaurant or done the math wrong and seriously under-tipped? You could be a factor in someone’s depression. Just over 10% of people in the food services industry suffered from a bout with major depression in the year looked at by a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Around 15% of women in the industry had an episode of depression that year. This is compared with the national average of 7%. The jobs of wait staff are often thankless with very low pay and little room for advancement. Most work varying shifts and have to take orders from lots of people throughout the day, which can be both exhausting and bad for self esteem.

  3. Artists

    All kinds of artists, from painters to musicians to writers, are more likely to be depressed than their less creative counterparts, with many committing suicide. About 9% reported having a major depressive episode in the year looked at by a Health.com study. Depending on the specific profession, the risk of suicide is anywhere from two to almost four times higher than normal. Many experts believe mood disorders, like bipolar disorder and depression, may be linked to creativity, which might make these types of people more likely to choose an artistic career.

  4. Veterinarians

    Vets, those smiling people who take your fur children into their arms and fix them up, might not actually be so happy. These pet doctors (or at least the ones studied in the U.K.) are four times as likely as the average person to commit suicide. Vets have high competition early in their careers and work long hours, and the research suggested other possibilities for why vets would be at risk: they have a higher comfort level with euthanasia, they tend to work alone, and they often suffer compassion fatigue.

  5. Teachers

    Even though teaching children can be a great joy, many teachers find the job very stressful and end up depressed as a result. Dealing with behavior problems, trying to increase test scores, and handling requests from principals and parents can all lead to teacher burnout and depression. A high number leave the field altogether, often a combination of the stress, the low pay, and the amount of work that they often find themselves taking home to complete.

  1. Physicians

    TV may paint a rosy picture of the medical profession, but the reality is much different. Not only are people in the medical field highly likely to be depressed, physicians also have a higher rate of suicide than most professions — between 300 and 400 kill themselves every year. Part of the problem might be that physicians know how to be successful in their attempts since they understand dangerous drugs and how the body works. They also have high-stress jobs, may have trouble balancing their personal life with their work schedule, and may be embarrassed to seek help for mood disorders.

  2. Manual laborers

    Even though doctors are on this list, and they’re considered a high-prestige occupation, the other end of the spectrum is just as depressing. Manual laborers, like construction workers, maintenance men, and welders, experience high rates of depression within their field. Some studies say they are more than one and a half times as likely to commit suicide as the average person. This is likely because of the lack of respect they receive, the low salaries, and the exhaustion of being a member of the working class. Many manual laborers work atypical hours, have to take work when they can find it, and receive little thanks in return.

  3. Nursing home workers

    Personal care providers, which includes those who work at nursing homes and who care for children, are in the most depressing field, according to the Health.com study. Almost 11% of these caretakers battled major depression in the survey year. That’s probably not surprising, as nursing home workers face their own mortality every day as they see their patients age and often die. They’re relied upon to bathe and feed others, as well as some other unsavory tasks, and often don’t get the gratitude they deserve since their patients may be too ill to thank them. Many nursing home workers are also often paid very low wages and worry how they will afford the things they need.

  4. Actors

    The lifestyle of famous actors seems glamorous and carefree, but many suffer from major depressive disorders. In fact, actors are more than two and a half times more likely to commit suicide. Actors often keep very busy, stressful schedules, face countless rejections throughout their careers, and feel the intense pressure to please everyone. These stresses are enough to make many break down or send them into a severe depressive episode. Some actors who have suffered from depression at one point or another are Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and David Arquette.


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