By Marybeth Bock

It’s normal for teens to feel sad, worried, and overwhelmed at times. But what if those feelings begin to spiral out of control and cause you to think about hurting yourself or even taking your own life?

Teenagers who get to that point often feel that they have no one who really understands what they are going through, and they often don’t know where to turn for help.

Paolla Jordan, an Arizona Mom, wants every teenager to know that there is always help nearby, if you are willing to just talk. Sadly, her own son, Adrio Romine, took his life this May, at the young age of 17. He was a distinguished graduate of Chandler High School who was already studying at ASU.

After his death, Adrio’s family discovered that he had reached out to a stranger online and had been communicating with that person for more than a few months before his death. Unfortunately, that person may have encouraged him to end his life.

Teens can often feel like their parents or teachers are just too old to understand what they are feeling and seeking guidance from a peer or a stranger seems like a better move. It’s important for young people to understand that someone online may be very different in real life than how they portray themselves to be on social media or in chat spaces.

Adrio’s Mom Paolla points out that people of any age who are in pain or sad, simply want to feel connection, not judgment. This fear of being judged can also prevent a teenager from reaching out to an adult who can help them.

But talking to a trusted adult is the best first step. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your parent, there are hotlines you can call or text, and there are counselors at school and in your community. It might feel hard or awkward at first but finding a quiet place to unload difficult feelings is so important.

Paolla adds that, “A trusted adult can help a teen break down a big problem into smaller components and assist them in identifying what has been triggering their feelings of sadness or anxiety. Teens need to remember that even though adults may seem like ‘dinosaurs’ when it comes to things like technology, they’ve all been teenagers themselves and have felt the same feelings.”

Paolla and her daughter have started the LaloBoy Foundation in honor of Adrio, and in the hopes that they can help other young people know that they are enough, and that there is always someone willing to listen and assist.

If you or any teen you know needs help, please contact one of these organizations:

Teen Lifeline (Arizona):1-800-248-8336

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741