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Teen who tried suicide aims to Break The Silence

Posted at 4:48 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 19:59:58-05

CINCINNATI – A teen says bullying and chronic depression led him to attempt suicide, but now he wants to send a message of hope to others thinking of taking their own lives.

At 17, Romell Roberts  took an overdose of prescription medication.

"That was probably the biggest mistake of my life," he says now.

He said it was his last resort after enduring years of bullying.

"It comes in all different forms. It comes in peer pressure, social media," Roberts said.

He wrote to his peers hoping to get them to stop.

"I never had the perfect life most teens envision. I never had fancy shoes or fancy clothes. I was never popular like I wanted to be,"  he said.

He was tormented.

"When he was walking home from school, he would avoid walking certain ways because the kids were cruel and say different things," said his aunt, Chandra Nealy Gray.

"High school is not easy. Parents think it's just a place where kids go to learn."

That deep sense of despair has led teens to create a suicide game.

Peers making a pact to die.

Just weeks ago, the game claimed a third teen suicide in the Tri-State. One of them was just 12 years old.

"People think that they won't miss them. I thought that," said Roberts.

On top of that, Roberts was dealing with another personal crisis. His mom had passed away in August.

In October he overdosed on Clonidine and woke up in the hospital.

"They had told me that they were basically just waiting for me to flat-line … ready to do compressions," Roberts said.

His heart almost stopped beating, but then he says he saw god.

"I do believe in my heart I visited heaven."

He says god and his peers reaching out kept him alive and now he's dedicated his second chance to inspire others to live.

He has started a campaign. He calls it "Break The Silence."

"You have to reach out, even if you have to cry out. Learn to speak," Roberts said. "There is too many silent people in the world."

He wants his peers to know there is always hope.

"You just have to keep pushing no matter where you are. Even if you're about to take pills, you just have to convince yourself not to do it because you have to believe you can get through anything and endure through anything in life," Roberts said.

Here are some resources that can help you deal with bullying and  despair that could lead to suicide:

Bullying and Suicide Resources

The Family Violence Prevention Project

Greater Cincinnati Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

Cincinnati Children's Anti-Bullying Curriculum

The Girls Guide to End Bullying

StopBullying.gov -  Ohio anti-bullying laws & policies

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Ohio Suicide Hotlines

Cincinnati Children's 'Surviving the Teens' Suicide Prevention program