Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions of suicides that might be disturbing. If the content upsets or distresses you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Just like that, Naika Venant was live.
The 14-year-old girl was on Facebook, broadcasting from a bathroom at her foster home in southeastern Florida. Then, she was hanging from a scarf tied to a shower’s glass door frame — a deeply painful and personal moment playing out so publicly on social media.
A friend saw the video stream on Facebook Live and called 911, but officers were sent to the wrong address.
By the time they got to the foster home in Miami Gardens, Fla., it was too late: Naika had died.
Mental health experts say there is no question that social media is becoming a new platform for public suicide. The concern is that people who are planning to take their own lives can broadcast their own deaths in real time — which is not only devastating for those who die but also for those watching it happen online.
Nadine Kaslow, a past president of the American Psychological Association, said that although they are not common, “These postings are a very concerning trend. People can see them over and over and over again.”
The question is: Why would someone choose to die that way — and what would it do to those watching it?
– Lindsey Bever
Photo Source: Flickr Images