Growing Number Of Teens Considering Suicide, CDC Says [AUDIO]
If you're a parent, pay attention to this. Nearly 16 percent of high school students nationwide admitted they have considered suicide in the last year, according to the latest statistics from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
While New Jersey has had the lowest adolescent suicide rate for more than a decade, it doesn't make it any less of a reality.
"National statistics show nearly one in five teens thought about suicide, one in six made plans for suicide and nearly one in twelve attempted suicide," said Joanne Oppelt, executive director of Contact We Care, a north Jersey based suicide prevention hotline.
"There is no one leading cause of teen suicide that we can point to...obviously bullying is a factor as we've seen with cases like Lennon Baldwin and Tyler Clementi, teen depression, school failure and peer pressure. Sometimes suicide is glorified by teens, as in the Manasquan school suicide cluster a few years back," added Oppelt.
Alex Crosby, an epidemiologist at the CDC's Injury Center says teens today also have an added level of stress in the digital age and it could be contributing to an increase in the suicide rate.
"I think we have to look at some of the issues regarding bullying and cyber-bullying and how some of these kids post rumors and threats online about others...it can be one of the contributing factors in teen suicide."
Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for New Jersey's youth, with 218 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 losing their lives between 2007 and 2009, according to data released this month by the state Department of Children and Families.
Oppelt says their agency answers more than 11,000 calls and emails per year and with more than 60% of teens preferring to text rather than talk, they recently launched a texting option to help teens work their problems.
"Nearly 80% of teens who die by suicide tried to ask for help sometime before...so we think that by having an additional choice for teens who wish to communicate by text, we can save more lives" said Oppelt.
Teens experiencing problems can call the hotline at 908-232-2880, 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE.