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The Dark Side of Livestreaming: A Troubling Consequence of Ignoring Mental Health
At the close of 2016, Katelyn Nicole Davis, a 12-year-old girl from a small town in Georgia, made a decision that shocked the world. Overwhelmed by her life, plagued by depression and alleged abuse, she went on social media to express her anguish. But what unfolded was a chilling and disturbing act that is becoming all too common in our society – she livestreamed her own death on Facebook Live. This tragic event highlights a deeper problem that we must address – the issue of mental health and suicide.
A Society Obsessed with Perception
We live in a society that often values superficiality over substance. Reality TV stars are idolized more than experienced politicians. Entertainment takes precedence over nuanced thinking. In this age of constant connectivity, where everything is documented and shared in real-time, the line between reality and performance is blurred. Livestreaming platforms have emerged as a way for individuals to broadcast their lives to anyone willing to watch. The allure of sharing every moment, no matter how mundane or personal, has captivated people around the world. But with this freedom comes a dark side – the ability to share unspeakable acts of violence, tragedy, and even suicide.
It is understandable that people are outraged by these videos and question why platforms like Facebook and YouTube allow them to exist. However, the problem runs deeper than simply blaming technology. We must acknowledge that our collective curiosity and fascination with death, gore, and violence contribute to the popularity and spread of such videos. As long as there is demand, these videos will continue to surface, despite efforts to remove them. We cannot solely rely on social media platforms to police content; we must address the underlying issues driving this behavior.
The Endless Battle to Erase
Facebook and YouTube do occasionally remove disturbing videos, but the nature of the internet ensures that copies will always resurface. People save and upload copies to various platforms, making it nearly impossible to completely eradicate them. Reddit and other community sites ensure that a copy will exist somewhere online. In this constant battle between those trying to erase these videos and those determined to keep them accessible, it becomes clear that the problem lies not in the videos themselves, but in the desperation and despair that leads individuals to these actions.
Suicide: The Real Issue
Instead of directing our outrage at technology, we must confront the root cause of these tragedies – suicide. Our society fails those in need, particularly the poor and emotionally vulnerable, by providing woefully insufficient mental health resources. It is a societal failure when a 12-year-old feels that suicide is her only option. The issue of suicide should not be left to be handled by a patchwork of volunteers and organizations, but rather require a concerted effort to provide adequate professional resources.
Unfortunately, seeking help for suicidal thoughts is often met with roadblocks. The lack of accessible mental health professionals and the stigma surrounding mental health prevent many from getting the support they need. Instead, we rely on outdated methods such as crisis hotlines and online chat services. While billions are spent on questionable healthcare technologies, the funding for suicide prevention remains inadequate. Annually, a mere $66 million is allocated to suicide prevention in the US, resulting in minimal direct treatment for those in crisis. The system is failing those who need it most.
Seeing the Unseen
Instead of condemning the ability to view these videos, we must recognize the sobering reality they portray. Suicidal individuals are often isolated and marginalized, unable to find the help and understanding they desperately need. Friends and family may want to support them, but are often ill-equipped to do so. By witnessing these videos, we are confronted with a reality that most of us never see firsthand. It serves as a reminder that we must strive to create a society where mental health is prioritized and help is readily available to those in need.
The livestreaming of tragic events, especially suicides, is a harrowing consequence of our society’s failure to address mental health. While it is easy to point fingers at technology and platforms like Facebook and YouTube, we must acknowledge the deeper issues at play. Suicide is a societal problem that requires comprehensive solutions, such as increased funding for mental health services, greater accessibility to professional help, and a shift in societal attitudes towards mental illness. Only by addressing these issues can we hope to prevent further tragedies.
FAQ: Why do people livestream their suicides?
Livestreaming suicides may stem from a combination of factors, including a cry for help, a desire for attention, or a warped sense of validation. It is a complex issue that requires a deeper understanding of individual motivations and mental health struggles.
FAQ: Can technology platforms do more to regulate content?
While technology platforms can take steps to remove disturbing content, the nature of the internet makes complete eradication impossible. Efforts should be focused on addressing societal issues, such as mental health support and prevention, rather than solely relying on technology platforms to police content.
FAQ: How can we better support individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts?
We need to prioritize mental health resources and destigmatize seeking help. This includes increasing funding for mental health services, educating the public about mental health, and creating a supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support.
FAQ: What can individuals do to help prevent suicide?
Individuals can play a crucial role in suicide prevention by being there for friends, family, and acquaintances who may be struggling. Listening, offering support, and encouraging professional help can make a difference. It is important to take all signs of distress seriously and reach out for help when needed.
FAQ: What steps can society take to address the issue of suicide?
Society must prioritize mental health support and prevention by increasing funding for mental health services, promoting education about mental health, and implementing comprehensive suicide prevention programs. This includes advocating for policy changes that improve access to mental health care and support for those in crisis.