Trigger warning: Discussion of suicide/death. Even if you don’t get triggered, the topics discussed will likely (and understandably) make you angry. Please proceed with caution and make time for self-care after. If you need help, you can find resources here.
We’re only two days into 2018 and there’s already been another nightmare on the internet endangering people’s mental health…
So infamous YouTuber, Jake Paul, took his click-bait to a new and disgusting level when he vlogged in Aokigahara, more commonly referred to as the “Suicide Forest” (more on this later), and showed the bodies of people who died by suicide. He even went so far as to show one of the bodies in the thumbnail (preview picture) for said video.
Note: A reminder that I am a dual suicide survivor (survived an attempt and lost a family member to suicide), have a degree in public health, and am a full-time mental health educator.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts about this situation and the aftermath of it (in no particular order):
- WTF?!!! How could someone be so insensitive and lack human decency?!?!
- I thought his fame via click bait was bad, but he used this for click bait?! I’m incredibly thankful I haven’t seen any of this.
- There’s definitely a wrong way to apologize for this situation and he did that not once, but twice.
- I hope his apology includes donating money to the American Foundation for Suicide, NAMI, etc. and mental health organizations in Japan.
- This reminds me of that awful horror movie about this forest that was also insensitive.
- I really hate that so many white folks have profited off of the deaths that occurred here.
- I really hate how media is so culturally incompetent and either forgets the cultural issues involved in this situation or perpetuates gross, racist views of the forest (how “haunting” it is, the “mystcism” surrounding it, etc.).
- I really hate how people/the media are focusing on how it’s a “suicide forest” and Japanese society being “so awful”, yet perpetuate the harmful stigma that leads to suicide in the U.S. Share resources, educate yourself and report responsibly.
- We really have to take into account our Western perspective/biases when discussing Japanese/Asian societies and suicides in these areas.
- Racism and cultural insensitivity (both in society and in medicine) negatively impacts people’s mental health.
- I really hate how Paul’s fans are tearing people who have been harmed by this apart. This is low, but unfortunately not a new low.
- This video was a MASSIVE consent issue. The people who died and their families did not consent for those who died to be part of the video. People who go on YouTube don’t go on knowing they’re going to be forced to see a picture of a dead body pop up on the trending section. People who are suicide survivors (no matter how you define it) did not consent to having to be bombarded with this story.
- Being randomly exposed to traumatizing images is horrible. Being re-traumatized is a whole other monster. It’s absolutely terrifying to think of all the people harmed by this. The news and people on social media are part of the problem as well.
- You can educate people about certain issues while protecting the people who are personally impacted. I frequently do presentations about suicide to people of all ages and none of them involve pictures of dead bodies.
- This situation reminds me so much of why I hated Thirteen Reasons Why, except real and even more damaging and insensitive.
- Holy crap. There are people who still don’t “get” why this situation is bad. That is absolutely terrible, but once again, not completely surprising.
- I hope the people who have been outraged over this are actually doing things to fight stigma, spreading mental health awareness, and are supportive ofthose of us with mental health conditions.
- This is why I do what I do. The only way we can fight stigma is through education and holding people accountable for their actions/words.