Douglas de Jesus Vieira committed suicide while filming a Facebook Live video this week, the latest in a string of disturbing suicides that played out live through streaming video.
The police office from Rio de Janeiro took his life last week with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and he broadcast video of the suicide online. The 28-year-old had reportedly been making despondent posts on Facebook after encountering a string of personal and professional difficulties, Correio reported.
The report (translated into English), claimed that Douglas de Jesus Vieira had attempted to take his life before filming the suicide video and that he was under deep stress.
“In addition, Douglas was separated from his wife and therefore further away from his young daughter. His grandmother, with whom he lived, died shortly thereafter. ‘He was very lonely, even the posts he made on Facebook talked a lot about it,’ adds the friend.”
“Douglas had already been hospitalized four times in psychiatry at the Central Military Police Hospital. The last time he tried to kill himself was mixing drugs and drinks. On that occasion he spent a week in the psychiatric ward.”
The report claimed that Douglas de Jesus Vieira offered a warning before committing suicide, telling those watching they may want to look away. He then raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, the report noted. The actual fatal shot was not seen on the video, the report noted, as Vieira dropped the phone he was using the record the video.
As he filmed the video, many people watching sent messages pleading with Vieira not to take his life.
O Dia Online Policial militar transmite a própria morte ao vivo no Facebook O Dia Online Douglas de Jesus Vieira… https://t.co/cFk30SNYCJ
— Ella (@EllaIDK) January 29, 2017
Vieira’s ex-wife, Rayane dos Santos, told Correio that Vieira was a great father to the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, but struggled deeply with depression and talked often of suicide.
The video that showed Douglas de Jesus Vieira committing suicide is the latest in a disturbing trend of people broadcasting their final moments online. Last week, Miami teenager Nakia Venant allegedly filmed her own suicide on Facebook Live, hanging herself after a video that lasted several hours, the New York Daily News reported.
And just a few weeks before that, 12-year-old Katelyn Nichole Davis hanged herself outside her family’s home in Georgia while broadcasting the final moments on Facebook Life. The young girl’s body was found hours later on December 30 with what the Northwest Georgia News reported to be “self-inflicted wounds.” She was taken to a hospital but was declared dead a short time later.
Katelyn Nichole Davis Suicide: 12-Year-Old Allegedly Hanged Herself, Live-Streamed Suicide On Facebook Live https://t.co/ZJAs0qpclv
— tony palmer (@tonypalmer300) January 25, 2017
The trend of people using live-streaming video to broadcast their suicide is troubling to mental health experts, who warn that such graphic videos can serve as a trigger for those suffering suicidal thoughts. Experts have also warned that a high-profile suicide — especially that of a teenager — can and often does lead to copycat suicides when there is significant media coverage surrounding it.
“It just seems so frightening, but a lot of behaviors are modeled,” Dr. Madelyn Gould of the New York State Psychiatric Institute told the Daily Beast.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and talk with someone either online or by phone. Information on suicide hotlines outside the United States can be found here.
While some news outlets have censored the footage, video of Douglas de Jesus Vieira committing suicide has remained up on several websites and has still spread across social media.
[Featured Image by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images]