As every parent knows, adolescence is an extremely difficult time. And troubled teenagers are not alone. More than a quarter of New Jersey’s kids report they felt sad or hopeless in the previous 12 months — 33 percent of girls and 19 percent of boys. Yet, New Jersey kids do seem to fare a bit better than the rest of the country. Nationally, 28 percent of high schoolers reported those feelings.
Still, 13 percent of New Jersey high school students seriously considered suicide — 16 percent for girls and 10 percent for boys. Nationally, the rate was 16 percent overall. However, only 6 percent made the attempt and only 2 percent of those resulted in injury or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor.
A different study a year earlier showed that only 7 percent of New Jersey teens had a major depressive episode in the previous year. A major depressive episode is defined as having five or more mental disorder symptoms every day for a two-week period. Symptoms include insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, diminished interest in pleasure, depressed mood, agitation, significant weight loss or gain, fatigue, diminished ability to concentrate, and suicidal thoughts.