Distraught woman sitting on chair

New Jersey has beefed up efforts to prevent suicide in schools and on college campuses in recent years, and the rate of these tragic deaths remains well below the national norm.

But several state lawmakers, including Sen. Richard Codey — the former governor and longtime mental health advocate — believe more must be done to reduce suicide in the Garden State, especially among teens, a group that is particularly at risk, experts agree. Data shows as many as one in 10 high school students here have tried to kill themselves.

Codey (D-Essex) and his wife and fellow advocate Mary Jo will join parents who have lost children to suicide, educators, and mental health experts on Wednesday to outline a three-point plan to reduce suicide, depression, and bullying, which are often underlying factors. His plan calls for boosting schools’ capacity to provide mental health services, including more training for support staff, and creating a statewide Teen Suicide and Depression Task Force.

“Too many young lives are being lost,” Codey said in a press release his nonprofit organization, The Codey Fund for Mental Health, shared with NJ Spotlight in advance. “New Jersey must act now to better equip all school employees to help identify at-risk students and prevent teen suicides and other mental-health-related incidents in their schools.”

Read more