’Tortured Artist’: Study Finds the Highly Artistic More Likely to Commit Suicide

The myth of the tortured genius has endured for centuries.

Artists as diverse as Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain and Sylvia Plath have become famous for their talent as well as for their struggles with mental health problems.

But a conclusive link has never been made between mental health issues and creativity.

For the first time reliable data has shown that the suicide rate among people working in creative roles is significantly higher than the national average.

The first-ever study of suicide by profession from the ONS, which covered England in the years from 2011 to 2015, showed that people who work in arts-related jobs are up to four times more likely to commit suicide.

Among men working in culture, media and sport-related jobs, the risk is 20 per cent higher, and among women it is 69 per cent higher.

The risk is even more pronounced among individual professions. Male artists are more than twice as likely to commit suicide, and with female artists the risk quadruples.

Rates are similarly high among actors, entertainers and presenters.

There were 311 suicides among people working in culture, media and sport professions during the period.

While the numbers are low, Louis Appleby, Professor of Psychiatry at Manchester University, said that they were statistically significant.

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Source: Telegraph | Olivia Rudgard