May 9, 2014 | Number of The Day
Percentage of NJ high school students who felt sad or hopeless in the previous 12 months

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.