Nakia Venant allegedly filmed her own suicide on Facebook Live, the second suicide of a young person to be shown to the internet via streaming video in what experts say could be a troubling new trend.
The Miami teenager allegedly took her life on Sunday by hanging herself in the bathroom of her foster parents’ home, the New York Daily News reported.
While the full details on Nakia Venant’s suicide video were not reported, the Miami Herald noted that the Facebook Live video showed the 14-year-old allegedly fashioning a homemade scarf as a noose. The video reportedly lasted more than two hours.
A girl in Miami died by suicide while streaming it on Facebook Live https://t.co/p2cfTZWfJA— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) January 25, 2017
Authorities were almost able to save Venant, the New York Daily News reported. A friend reportedly saw the video and called police, but officers showed up to the wrong address. The residents at that address pointed police to the correct home, but by then it was too late and the 14-year-old was dead.
“We are absolutely horrified and devastated by the news of this young girl’s death,” Mike Carroll, of the Florida DFC told the Miami Herald. “We will do everything we can to support this family and all those who cared for her as they begin to heal from this tragedy.”
The live-streaming video of Nakia Venant’s suicide came just a few weeks after another young girl who used Facebook Live to document her suicide. In Georgia, 12-year-old Katelyn Nichole Davis took her life outside of her family’s home and broadcast the final act online.
The young girl was found outside her home on December 30 with what the Northwest Georgia News reported to be “self-inflicted wounds.” Paramedics tried to save the girl, but she was declared dead a short time later.
In the days that followed, the video of Katelyn Nichols Davis’s suicide spread online, prompting some mental health experts to speak out about the dangers of spreading such a graphic video. Experts have noted that a high-profile suicide — especially that of a teenager — can and often does lead to copycat suicides.
“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.
As the report noted, Gould authored research on this copycat suicide trend, finding that it is an especially high risk among young adults.
“Heightened newspaper coverage following a young adult’s suicide is significantly linked to subsequent self-inflicted deaths, according to Gould’s research. Her study finds that the more sensational the reporting, the more details provided, and the more prominent the story’s placement, the more likely it was that additional suicides would follow. What’s more, the study reinforces the opinion that irresponsible reporting on suicide overwhelmingly impacts the young. According to another study by the same author, the prevalence of copycat suicide is up to four times higher in young adults than any other age group.”
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.
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
While it’s not known whether Nakia Venant was inspired to film her suicide video after seeing or reading about Davis’s suicide, authorities are sounding the warning again after the Miami teen’s death. Many of the stories on her death warn of the danger of sensationalizing suicides and of spreading the video.
[Featured Image by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images]