Sleep health disparities: A promising target for preventing suicide in black youth?
Goldstein, T.R., Jonassaint, C.R., Williamson, A.A., & Franzen, P.L.
Youth suicide is an urgent public health concern, particularly for Black youth, among whom suicide attempts and death have increased faster than any other racial or ethnic group. Ideal foci for suicide prevention interventions are risk factors that are malleable, dynamic, and proximal. Studies consistently identify poor sleep health as a risk factor for suicidal thoughts, attempts, and death. Herein, we assert that sleep health may therefore be a promising target for youth in general, and given racial disparities in sleep health, for Black youth in particular. Although efficacious sleep and circadian-focused interventions exist, data suggest poorer treatment response among racially and ethnically minoritized youth, possibly due to inadequate consideration of sleep health barriers specific to Black youth. The application of health-equity informed implementation science methods is needed to establish the feasibility and acceptability of a sleep intervention for Black youth at-risk for suicide. Such an approach may hold significant potential to improve sleep, ameliorate distress, and reduce suicide risk, while also enhancing access and uptake among Black youth.