A student at Guelph University live-streamed his suicide attempt last week.
“This is it,” the unnamed 20-year-old wrote on 4chan, an anonymous online forum. “Tonight I will be ending my own life. I’ve been spending the last hour making the preparations, and I’m ready to go through with it.”
“All I request is for you guys to link me to a site where I am able to stream it for you guys,” he continued.
After a live-stream was set up, the student took a hand full of pills, and chased them with vodka. He then set a fire in the corner of his residence room and crawled under his bed.
Two hundred people, the maximum allowed in the chat group, watched as the fire spread, while the student continued to post to the chat group.
“#dead, “lolimonfire,” the student wrote from under the bed.
Comments from viewers of the live stream ranged from taunts to encouragement, with a few pleas for the student to seek help. One viewer urged the student to provide sound.
“give us sound!!! We cant hear you!!!! rightclick the chat,” the viewer wrote.
At the end of the 40-minute video, firefighters enter the student’s residence room and pull him out from under the bed.
A statement from the University of Guelph said the student suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. The fire was contained to the student’s room, but about 30 students were relocated to temporary accommodations as a precaution.
Attempts by the University of Guelph to have the video taken down have been unsuccessful.
Dr. Dan Andreae, Guelph-Humber psychology professor, said a suicide attempt indicates a person is suffering a great deal and that posting the attempt online is probably a way of reaching out.
“We don’t know what’s going on in his mind,” Andreae said. “But most likely it’s a call for help. This technology has allowed him to reach out to more people. ”
Although posting a suicide attempt seems like a clear cry for help, it is harder to explain why so many people are eager to not only watch someone commit suicide, but encourage them to go through with it.
“We’ve become conditioned to violence,” Andreae said. “We see so much of it, we’ve become desensitized.”
Andreae notes the screen can make it easier to separate from the reality of the situation.
“It seems like a movie,” Andreae said. “In the movies, people get blown up and survive.”