GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – At least three people have recently committed suicide while on Facebook Live and expressing suicidal thoughts or actions on social media is becoming a growing trend.
“Many times someone contacts the REAL Crisis Center and are fearful that someone they know or a Facebook friend or an acquaintance might be suicidal or depressed,” said Tracy Kennedy, the center’s assistant director.
Kennedy said people may be more comfortable opening up about their concerns while hidden behind the computer screen.
“They’re not face to face with someone,” said Kennedy. “They’re in their own home, and they want to express themselves, and they can do it immediately.”
It is not just happening with adults.
“They’ll come to us and say, you know, this is what they were talking about last night, and they’re concerned,” said school counselor Kareem Atkinson.
Atkinson and Kristy Kennedy, another school counselor, said it is something they see in middle school.
“We’ve had situations where students come to school, and they’re concerned about something that they saw on Facebook or Instagram that one of their friends has posted online,” said Kennedy. “ And they’ve come to school, and they’ve come to me or Mr. Atkinson and say they’re really worried about their friend.”
Kennedy said the first response should be to reach out that person and let them know you are concerned.
“I would also refer them to the national hotline or the area crisis center,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said a call for help should always be taken seriously.
“Do not take the risk of being wrong when someone reaches out for help,” said Kennedy. “Not responding or not helping someone who has mentioned the words “suicide” and “wanting to die” is higher than upsetting somebody.”