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San Francisco Suicide Prevention 2011-08-03 17:02:00

A new study from researchers at Idaho State University and the University of Michigan indicates that there is a correlation between sleep problems and suicidal thinking in teens, according to a Reuters story quoted by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Idaho State researcher Maria Wong feels this could help parents and other adults identify suicide risk in young people, stating, “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.” The researchers found that 60 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 who engaged in suicidal behavior had experienced trouble sleeping at ages 12 to 14. Forty-seven percent of teens who had thought about suicide (but had not harmed themselves) had experienced trouble sleeping at 12 to 14. In comparison, only 26 percent of teens with no suicidal behavior or thoughts had experienced trouble sleeping when they were younger. The study is consistent with earlier research showing a correlation between sleep problems and suicidal thoughts and behavior among adults. It should be noted that the research did not demonstrate that sleep disorders cause suicidality, or that suicidal thoughts or behaviors cause sleep problems.