Mental illness is often not taken as seriously as it should be, nor is it properly portrayed on social media or in pop culture. It’s often treated as taboo, with people brushing it aside or only speaking about it in hush tones and this needs to stop.
Recently a 12-year-old girl committed suicide in Cedartown, Georgia and live streamed the entire thing on social media. It was then reposted on apps like Live.me and on YouTube where it was viewed over 40,000 times. It was also posted onto Facebook and remained on there for several days. To make it even worse, the Polk County Police Department in Georgia only found out about her suicide via tips from sources in California and even as far as the UK that viewed the video.
i just watched the vid of the 12 year old girl who committed suicide
— joshie (@joshiequartz) January 6, 2017
A 12 year old filmed her suicide. I have no words except I’m sorry. Please don’t solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.
— Haley (@HBouknight) January 6, 2017
— KirstyTV (@KirstyTV) January 6, 2017
The video itself is over 40 minutes long and websites are not legally required to take it down and can even make money on it through advertisements. The fact that people watched and continue to watch this young girl’s suicide just shows how glorified it is by society. People do not realise the amount of pain it takes for someone to commit suicide and actually believe it’s okay to watch it happen live.
Bottom line: we need to educate society on the truths behind suicide and mental illness. It is NOT a plea for attention. It is NOT okay to jokingly say “I’m going to kill myself”. It is NOT okay to ignore signs of self-harming or serious verbal threats of suicide, and it is especially NOT okay to watch a video of it. If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide or is suffering with an untreated mental illness, please call one of these numbers to get help:
UK: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90
CA: (514) 723 4000
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below about how we can make sure those in need get the help they deserve.