Nearly 16% of high school teens nationwide have admitted they had contemplated suicide within the last year, according to an annual survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Although suicide rates in New Jersey are lower in New Jersey, teen suicides overall are higher here than the national suicide rate" said Joanne Oppelt, executive director of Contact We Care, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline in northern New Jersey.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24, the fourth leading cause of death for youth  10-14 and the second leading cause of death among college students, Oppelt said.

"Obviously bullying is a factor as we've seen with the deaths of Lennon Baldwin in north Jersey and Tyler Clementi of Rutgers. There is also the issue of teen depression" said Oppelt.

An average of 72 young people between ages 10 and 24 were lost to suicide each year between 2007 and 2009 totaling 218 for these three years, according to data from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, just released this month.

"We need to do more as a society to make sure teens know there is help available, that they have someone to turn to, often times our youth attempt suicide multiple times.  Our goal is to make sure that when other teenagers and children feel that lonely they know there is someone to talk to, anonymously and confidentially" said Oppelt.

Teens experiencing problems can call the hotline at 908-232-2880, 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE.