I’m fond of quoting something I heard long ago about the highest rates of suicide being among dentists and secretaries. Checking it out today yields inconclusive results, but the point is, higher risks of suicide seem to occur among people who have little control over a) daily tasks (laborers, the unemployed) and/or b) the outcomes of their work (medical professionals, especially female). A recent British study found that men with ‘low-grade jobs,’ who had little control over daily tasks, and men in low social positions had faster and less variable heart rates”–which is a strong indicator for heart disease.
So the answer is getting clearer–mental and physical health are strongly related to your sense of control over your life. I love the simple definition my counselor/massage therapist brother David gives for mental health: “The ability to see alternatives.”