Suicide has become the third leading cause of teen death in the nation. It has been reported that 60% of New Jersey teens’ suicide prevention calls were made to out-of-state organizations. Governor Chris Christie addressed the troubling issue of teen suicide Tuesday during his tenth town hall of the year in Ocean Township.

“It is a real problem. There’s enormous pressure on our kids these days,” Christie explained to an overflow crowd.

He said drugs, college applications and parental divorces are all factors that add to the stress.

He continued, “I signed a bill this past January to put more focus on the teen suicide problem, and provide more resources for folks to deal with the root of the problem.”

A-3659, sponsored by dozens of Assembly members, requires the Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with other entities, to develop and adopt a statewide youth suicide prevention plan sometime this year.

The plan must address several issues, such as identifying barriers to accessing mental health and substance abuse services, as well as increasing public awareness of the problem.

“We need to start teaching people better, and we’re working on that to try to reach out through schools and other places to try to get some better education for adults about what signs to spot,” Christie said.

He said that is where “we have the luck at solving the problem.”

“When someone’s determined to take their own life, they usually do, so we have to stop them from thinking that that’s an acceptable alternative,” he continued.

Governor Christie, 49 years old, said he sometimes thinks about everything that has happened in his life since he was a teenager. He said when he thinks about missing all of that, it’s heartbreaking.

Video By Dino Flammia