When I wrote about people being more supportive as we are all battling our own personal demons, I never imagined I would see the other side of being supportive. Yesterday, a man tried to video call me on Facebook messenger and said “I want you to see me die”
How did the “I want you to see me die” saga start?
Three days ago, whilst going through my Facebook time, I saw a single comment stating “I will pay £2000 to anyone who would help me kill myself”
My initial reaction was concern, then a part of me asked what if it was a joke in bad taste?
However, I have friends who have had personal crises where one told me that when things were really bad for him, he did consider taking his own life. Another friend told me that before we met, he had tried to kill himself 7 times. One of those times, he actually jumped into a river knowing fully well that he could not swim.
So how can I preach that, as human beings, we should try to be more supportive of each other, if I would ignore a total stranger that was likely going through a really bad time? Anyhoos, I dialled 141 before typing in the person’s number so that my own number would be hidden when it rang at the other end. The call went to voicemail, so I opted to leave him (it was a He based on his profile picture) a message on Facebook Messenger asking if his post was a really bad joke or if he needed help.
The following day he replied saying that no one cares about him, he has a gambling addiction and everyone around him keeps blaming him and no one is showing him any sympathy or support. I told him that whilst his situation may seem really bad, I know that things can and do get better. I went on Google to search for ‘Support for Gambling Addiction’ and shared with him the helpline for Gam Care. He went on to add that he’s spoken to his GP and Gam Care before but they could not support him etc etc
The following day . . .
I sent him a simple message to check how he was doing and that’s when he tried to video call me. I did not want to video chat with a stranger, so I declined the call and said that the mic on my laptop was bad. What ensued after that was very disturbing.
PS That is not his real name, he had lots of other display names too. I didn’t scramble it out for this reason. If you typed that name on Facebook, his profile is not amongst the top profiles, so you are unlikely to find him if you tried (not that I am asking you to, so please don’t).
At this point mo ri pe mo ti ko ja aiye mi. I realised that I had gone past my capabilities and the point of trying to be supportive to a potentially morbid situation. I almost regretted sending that first message. I knew I had to do something but my brain cells were on strike. I sent a message to my friend asking him to call me back. A couple of hours later he did and after I narrated what had gone on, he stated in his most matter of fact voice “hang up and call the police NOW!” That was all my brain cells needed to wake up.
I got the police involved
In the UK, we have a non-emergency number 101 so I called that first. Unfortunately, the automatic message was to go online and fill out a form. I decided against that and called the emergency number 999. The person I spoke with took down all the details of what had gone on and asked me to report the incident to Facebook too so that Facebook too can investigate the matter. After playing around on Facebook, I figured out how to do it.
To be honest, I used to think that the Facebook report button was simply for threatening/abusive/spam comments. I didn’t know, until yesterday, that you can use the report button if you think someone would hurt him/herself. On Facebook Messenger, you can click on the i button and follow the instructions to report the profile. Alternatively, click here to report to Facebook directly by filling out a form if you suspect someone is about to hurt him/herself.
This morning, I got a knock on my door and it was the police. They actually thought that my address was the address of the person I reported.
On a side note, if I am not mistaken, all UK landlines show the registered address of the number whenever you call emergency services. That’s how/why the police turned up at my doorstep even though I didn’t give them my address when I called yesterday.
Anyhoos, we went through everything that happened yesterday and they said that they would investigate the matter. Apparently, there’s a database (isn’t there always) that they can look through to see if they can find the details about this person.
I sincerely hope that this person is safe and it’s all a sick joke.
I’ve heard in the news several cases of people attempting to kill themselves on social media, I just never for the life of me imagined that I would be at the receiving end of such a thing. I was really upset by it all but for some reason, simply knowing that the police are looking into the matter, makes me feel better.
What have I learnt?
After reading “I want you to see me die” I don’t think I would take the same exact steps that I originally did. In the very unlikely chance that I see a similar comment on any social media platform, instead of trying to engage the person, I would report the profile immediately. I realise now that I am not mentally and emotionally equipped to offer that type of support to strangers. Knowing that the UK police takes such reports seriously, I would not hesitate to report a similar matter to them again.
However, my prayer (as selfish as this may sound) is to never be in this position again.
I’m trying to not ask myself what would have happened if I had answered the video call? Would he really have killed himself?
I guess writing about online safety for kids subconsciously helped me take my own advice.
What is Gam Care?
Gam Care is a UK National Gambling Helpline that provides confidential advice, information and emotional support throughout Great Britain to anyone experiencing problems with gambling. You can speak with a Gam Care Adviser by calling Freephone number 0808 8020 133, 8am to midnight, seven days a week. Calls to the National Gambling HelpLine are free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK and do not appear on itemised bills. Calls from BT phone boxes are free, however some other public phone operators may charge you to call.
When you call, you will speak with a GamCare Adviser who is trained to listen and help people affected by problem gambling. The Adviser will listen to you carefully and encourage you to talk about your concerns. Sometimes just talking to someone can be a relief, and it is an important first step towards dealing with the problem. If you wish to address the underlying issues which drive you to gamble more than you want, the Adviser may be able to help you do that too by putting you in touch with a counsellor or GamCare practitioner, either face-to-face, online or over the phone.
If you have a friend or family member who is a problem gambler, the Adviser can suggest ways you can support them and encourage them to seek help. Gam Care can also help you deal with the effects of their gambling on your own life, including through counselling treatment.
If all the Advisers are busy, or you call between midnight and 8am, you can leave a message including your name and a number you are happy for a Gam Care adviser to call you back on. Gam Care will return your call when the lines are open.
Does Gam Care provide a confidential service?
Confidentiality means not sharing information with anyone else about what you tell us. Whatever you say will be just between you and GamCare, unless you request otherwise in writing. You can feel safe talking to us, knowing that we will not pass on personal information without letting you know.
Phew, that was long-winded. I just needed to get it off my chest and possibly arm someone with the knowledge of what to do if they ever found themselves in a similar situation.
Has someone ever said to you “I want you to see me die?” What would you do if you were faced with a similar situation? Please leave a comment below, I would love to know what you think about this “I want you to see me die” saga