One of the earliest reported internet suicide was that of a Florida teen Abraham Biggs, who in 2008, posted several times on an online bodybuilding message board that he was going to kill himself. Unfortunately, nobody took him seriously. Rather than stopping him, many goaded him to go ahead, which he eventually did.
The entire incident was considered as a frivolous attempt by someone seeking attention, and it was passed off as another whim of a whacky teen until Abraham shocked all by linking to a live-streaming site and overdosing on prescription pills to end his life. However, what was supposedly a stray incident in 2008, has now become quotidian. Ranging from the killer Blue Whale game where players need to complete a set of challenges, post proofs and commit suicide as the last task to other incidents where people post with the intent to draw attention, live-streaming suicides have become a regular affair.
Why do people live-stream suicide?
The question, why people seemingly glorify suicide and live-stream it for others to watch, has stirred a great debate. According to Dr. Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychology professor at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, who studied suicide for 13 years, there could be an array of reasons for a person to live-stream his or her suicide.
“Some people want to punish with their suicide. Some want to feel that connection to social media – to take away the solitary feeling of the act but still be in an environment they feel at home in,” said Ramsland. Others may want to get their names in the media, not that they want fame, but because they want people to notice them. Those who want to live-stream their suicide want to say something to people, and by live-streaming their suicides, they think that they have made a vociferous statement. Some lament their lives and misfortunes that happened to them, and suicide is a way of projecting that inner turmoil to the world.
Ramsland also said that in some cases live-streaming is a cry for help, a distant hope that someone might come and rescue them. Somehow, they still have a small will to survive in some corner of their hearts. Long videos on the suicide method or overdose techniques could be just that, a plea for someone to reach out and prevent them from taking their own lives.
Live-streaming suicides also highlight the tussle to handle social media. Many social media platforms find themselves at loggerheads with the public outcry on policies and privacy. Ramsland remarks that one is left dumbfounded and does not know how to react to such a video, especially because the person is unknown. Most viewers become bystanders, as they expect someone else to respond. It gets morbid at the end, for everyone to witness such gruesome acts. Family and friends are at a loss, and a precious life is wasted.
The foremost reasons why a person thinks about committing suicide include mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and psychosis, and impulsive behavior because of substance abuse. According to the latest statistics revealed by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, 9.8 million people thought seriously about killing themselves.
Suicide prevention programs are elementary for prevention. An initiative by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), World Suicide Prevention Day, observed every year on September 10, urges people around the world to join hands and spread awareness and education among masses to address the stigma associated with mental health and suicide.
Dealing with mental illness
Suicide is more often than not a fallout of a mental illness or a substance abuse not taken care of. If you or a loved one is dealing with any mental disorders, seek immediate treatment. Sovereign Health provides comprehensive mental health treatment programs and ensures long-term recovery to patients.
We have state-of-the-art mental health treatment centers spread across the U.S. Call our 24/7 helpline to know about our inpatient mental health treatment in California or at a place near you. You may even chat online with our representatives for further information about our customized mental health treatment procedures.