Valley mom hopes to help families access mental health support | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Paolla Jordan lost her son in 2019 and will share her experience and insights at 12News’ 2nd Town Hall on teen violence.

PHOENIX — In a few months, Paolla Jordan will mark five years since she lost her son, Adrio Romine. 

Romine died by suicide at 17 years old. Following his death, Jordan discovered Romine had been having a conversation with someone on Reddit for more than a month.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Un ‘depredador’ en línea le aconsejó a un adolescente de Chandler cómo suicidarse

“My son had a conversation with a predator for over 40 days prior to him dying by suicide. And he basically instructed him in writing over 120 pages about how to do it. And that is – it’s now illegal,” Jordan said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is help and there is hope. Call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Following Romine’s death, Jordan worked to get a law passed that would make it manslaughter if any adult provides advice or encouragement that a minor uses to take their own life. Former Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law in 2021.

However, since Romine died in 2019, state reports show Arizona teens are increasingly struggling with thoughts of suicide and facing other struggles that can affect their mental health. That’s in addition to increasing teen-on-teen violence seen across the Valley.

“We just see so many hurting kids,” Jordan said. “And that is our number one priority – to make sure that they don’t feel alone.”

Jordan started the LaloBoy Foundation alongside her daughter, Merixtell Adria. The organization helps families access mental health support.

When looking at the teen violence across the Valley, Jordan said she believes there’s something more going on.

“It appears to me that today, these kids are hurting, they’re going through a lot, they’re not receiving whatever it is that they’re needing,” Jordan said. “I’m not here to validate what they’re doing. But as a whole, it takes all of us to raising that one kid. And it’s, it feels that they don’t understand what those boundaries are. That’s what makes me sad.”

Among statistics in the latest Arizona Youth Survey from 2022, more than a quarter of Arizona students reported having been the victim of cyberbullying in the past year. The survey also shows nearly 40% of Arizona students in 8th to 12th grade saw someone punched, kicked, choked or beaten up.

The survey also shows that more students are reporting someone threatening or injuring them with a weapon at school in 2022.

“The first thing that needs to change is the conversations that are happening at home,” Adria said.

Through the work at the foundation, Adria said she hears how parents are struggling to help their kids, and she said connection is key.

“A child that feels safe with their parent feels more safe talking to their parent,” Adria said. “And building that connection, building that sense of community, building in those support systems is how we find the truth and stop the harm.”

Jordan also encourages parents to step into the gap.

“Whether their kids are on that fringe of getting into trouble: Do something now. It’s never too late, but they need you,” Jordan said.

Suicide Lifeline

Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide can reach out for help by calling 1-800-273-8255 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential support to people experiencing suicidal ideation or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the U.S. The service aims to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. 

Arizona’s Suicide/Crisis Hotlines by County: 

  • 1-800-631-1314 and 602-222-9444 (Maricopa County) 
  • 1-800-796-6762 or 520-622-6000 (Pima Country) 
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties) 
  • 1-800-259-3449 (Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities) 
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Yuma, La Paz, Pinal, and Gila Countries) 
  • 1-877-756-4090 (Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties)

12News’ 2nd Town Hall on teen violence

12News is inviting the community on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to share their voice and ideas in a 2nd Town Hall focused on the impact of teen violence in our communities. 

Jordan is expected to speak at the event.

This Town Hall will take place at the Cesar Chavez Community Center from 6-7 p.m. and will broadcast live during 12News at 6.

  • When: 6-7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27 | Doors open at 5 pm
  • Where: Cesar Chavez Community Center | 7858 S 35th Ave., Laveen Village

RSVP here to join us in person or on the livestream. 

Together, with a panel of community members, law enforcement, educators and activists, we’re bringing the issue of teen violence to a broader audience to identify solutions and address the problem across valley neighborhoods.

>> Share your thoughts, questions or comments here.

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