29-year-old Desmond Amofah, a popular YouTuber known as “Etika”, was found dead in the East River in New York after posting a video on YouTube of suicidal ideations. During the eight-minute video, he went into details about his mental illness and suicidal thoughts and apologized to various individuals in his life.

“I’m sorry to those of you who I betrayed,” he said. “I’m sorry for leaving such a stained legacy. I hope that my story maybe helps to make YouTube be a better place somehow in the future, to where people know boundaries and limits and how far things should go.”

Individuals such as Desmon Amofah may appear happy, successful and brilliant on the outside but may be struggling on the inside. Living in silent torture can drive any individual to suicidal ideations, regardless of their skin color, age or financial status.

Statistics on suicide

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide each year, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the United States and the second leading cause of death among individuals 10-24 years of age. Firearms account for 50% of suicide and women attempt suicide three times more frequently than men however men are three times more likely to die by suicide. Most often individuals who have attempted or committed suicide will show warning signs however these warning signs may go unnoticed by loved ones and even health professionals. The reasons for committing suicide goes far and beyond any one or two causes however studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of individuals who die of suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder

  • On average, there are 121 suicides per day
  • Firearms account for almost 50 percent of suicides.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age, which men, in particular, followed by American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
  • Poisoning and suffocation account for approximately 42 percent of suicides
  • For every suicide, there are 25 attempts
  • Suicide costs the U.S. 51 billion dollars annually

Warning signs associated with suicide

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Verbal outbursts
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Writing or talking about suicide
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Reckless behavior
  • Refusal to engage in daily responsibilities
  • Giving away personal items of worth such as jewelry or furniture

Seeking help

Suicidal ideations can turn into attempted suicides for many individuals who struggle with mental illness, isolation and low-self esteem. There are many great resources available around the clock for anyone who is struggling with suicidal ideations, whether or not they have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

  • 24/7 Crisis Hotline: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)(Veterans, press 1)
  • Crisis Test Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741
  • The Trevor Project, an LGBT crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
  • Find support online by visiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Treatment for suicide and suicide attempts

There are two proven psychotherapies for treating those who attempt suicide: cognitive behavior therapy for suicide attempters (CBT for suicide attempters) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) for patients with borderline personality disorder and recurrent suicidal ideation and behaviors. Clearly, theses short term interactive therapies make a difference.

Kristen Fuller, M.D., is a clinical content writer and enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine. She is a family medicine physician and author, who also teaches and contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies within educating the public on preventable diseases including mental health disorders and the stigma associated with them. She is also an outdoor activist and spends most of her free time empowering other women to get outside into the backcountry.