I'm always looking for ways for people to think differently about suicide prevention. Researchers in Idaho and Michigan may have come up with something good.
Studying teens, researchers found that sleep problems were associated with suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. At first read, I thought that what had been reinforced was a link between depression, which is also associated with sleep problems in teens, and suicide. But, these researchers screened for depression.
So, they've given people who work with teens a whole new way to help them. Particularly for medical professionals, who are in a position to ask teens questions about their health in general, asking about sleep is easy.
"It's easier to broach the topic of sleep with patients, since it's easier to talk about a physical problem," said Idaho State University researcher Maria Wong in a Reuters article.
It's also makes what could be a difficult conversation for a teen a bit more comfortable.
"It's easier for them to answer questions like, 'Did you sleep well last night?' and get into why they are not sleeping well and how they are feeling lately," Wong said.