I recently read ‘I was here’ by Gayle Foreman and I was shocked to find out that it was inspired by a real story. Suzy Gonzales was 19, a smiley young woman who earned a full scholarship to Florida State University but whilst away at college Suzy became depressed and turned to an online suicide support group which helped her end her life. Following Suzy’s death the bill H.R 1183 was introduced meaning that it is a crime to use the internet to promote or encourage suicide. This bill is the Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act of 2011.
It shocks me, that people can prey on vulnerable and unwell people and encourage them to end their lives. When Suzy posted her plan to end her life in the support group it was met with replies such as, “I like this idea.” Less than two months later Suzanne Gonzales died on March 22nd 2003.
I know it goes on, I see it everyday on instagram. People encouraging each other in their eating disorders and depression. Accounts that get hundreds of likes on pictures of a suicidal nature. I know that pro anorexia sites exist, as well as pro self harm and pro suicide. They may constantly change their urls, disguise them as being something else but they are out there and that’s terrifying. I don’t understand why you would want someone to be unwell, to be hurt, to die? Suzy’s story shocked me, completely. The things people wrote to her pushing her to kill herself. It’s heartbreaking. I often wonder about who ‘owns’ these sites. Are they unwell too or just preying on the vulnerable? Do they realise the effects of their actions? It’s going to break a mothers heart when her son or daughter dies from anorexia, it’s going to change a family forever if one of them self harms and accidentally dies and it’s going to destroy so many people if the person you are encouraging to attempt suicide does and dies. There is nothing to be ‘pro’ about when it comes to self harm, eating disorders and suicide other than being pro-recovery.
You can read more about Suzy’s law here:
If you are in need of help because of suicide, self harm or eating disorders then you may find the following links useful: