YouTube star Etika has died of an apparent suicide, after police pulled his dead body from New York’s East River.
Etika, whose real name was Desmond Amofah, was reported missing June 19 after he posted an emotional YouTube video during which he threatened suicide.
Etika threatened suicide in YouTube video before disappearance
The body of the 29-year-old social media sensation was found yesterday evening (June 24) near the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.
The last time anyone had heard from Amofah was last week. His abrupt disappearance initially fueled speculation that the incident was a PR stunt. Sadly, that is not the case.
The New York City Police Department confirmed Etika’s death on Twitter.
The NYPD tweeted: “We regret to inform that Desmond Amofah aka Etika has been found deceased.”
We regret to inform that Desmond Amofah aka Etika has been found deceased. https://t.co/sedwZZxglw
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 25, 2019
Desmond Amofah: ‘I am mentally ill’
Before he disappeared, Etika apologized to his legions of fans in a rambling YouTube video, where he suggested that he was planning to kill himself. Etika later deleted his “suicide video,” but it has since been reposted by his fans (and then deleted by YouTube).
“I’m sorry for leaving such a stained legacy,” Etika said in the video. “I hope that my story maybe helps to make YouTube a better place in the future where people know boundaries and limits and how far things should go.”
Amofah continued: “I wasn’t suicidal before. I really wasn’t. But one thing I didn’t realize was that the walls were closing around me so fast. I really had no intention of killing myself but I’d always push it too far. I guess I am mentally ill…But I ultimately turned down help.”
Social media fame masked depression and loneliness
Etika had a massive following on social media: He had 286,000 followers on Instagram, 337,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 133,000 subscribers on his popular YouTube channel. His gaming videos sometimes notched more than 1 million views.
Etika was not married and had no children. He is survived by his parents and younger brother, from whom he was estranged for the past year.
Despite his Internet fame, Etika was unhappy. His hidden depression and tragic death appear to confirm numerous studies suggesting that too much social media use fuels depression and feelings of isolation.
On his last YouTube video, Etika acknowledged that his obsession with social media damaged his mental health.
“Let my story be one that advises caution on too much of the social media s–t, man,” he said. “It will f–k you up and give you an image of what you want your life to be and it can get blown completely out of proportion, dog. Unfortunately, it consumed me.”
Study: Social media overdose can trigger depression
According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, there’s a causal link between the use of social media and depression.
The study surveyed 143 college students at the University of Pennsylvania. The results showed that the less social media the students used, the better their emotional well-being.
“No matter where they started off, if they were told to limit their social media, they had less depression — no matter what their initial levels were,” said Jordyn Young, a co-author of the paper.
“What we found overall is that if you use less social media, you are actually less depressed and less lonely, meaning that the decreased social media use is what causes that qualitative shift in your well-being.”
Experts opine that viewing posts on social media — where users share or even manufacture fake “happy moments” can trigger feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and FOMO (fear of missing out). So don’t believe everything you see online.
You are not alone. Confidential help is available for free.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255 (available 24 hours a day)