Virtual reality claims victim in real world – Popular vlogger Etika found dead in New York

Desmond Amofah, 29, popularly known by his virtual name Etika, was missing for 6 days when his body was recovered by the New York Police Department (NYPD) on June 24, 2019. The police found his body in the East River on the South Street Seaport around 6:20 p.m. The NYPD informed the world about his death through their Tweet on June 25. According to the latest reports, a medical examiner will be performing an autopsy to determine his cause of death.

Etika was a well-known video game YouTuber from Brooklyn, NY. His reaction videos on new product releases and updates from Nintendo, were well-liked and appreciated in the online community. Prior to the closure of his YouTube account in October 2018, due to pornography-related issues, he had more than 130,000 followers and had over 239,000 followers on his Instagram account. His fans had started a signature campaign to get his YouTube account restored and actually reached over 370,000 signatures.

It would have been difficult for anybody to believe that in reality the trending boy was actually a lonely soul, consumed by social media and plagued by mental illnesses.

Pain behind the happy face

Going through his various social media accounts, one can only see the happy, ever-smiling face of Etika, but everybody failed to see the pain behind that positive façade. A sense of panic started after the social media star uploaded a video on June 19, 2019 which unfortunately turned out to be his last. In the video he cautioned his fans and the public about the excessive use of social media and said that social media gave a false and colorful perspective of life whereas it was the opposite in real life. He went on to say that social media had “consumed him.”

He further added that he was sorry for leaving behind a “tainted legacy,” but hoped that his life story would serve as an example to people in the future and help them recognize the limits and boundaries of social media. He even claimed that he was mentally ill and even though he was not suicidal before, he had not realized how deeply he had submerged into the quicksand of mental illness.

A woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed to be his ex-girlfriend and said that they dated from 2011-2017. She said that Etika had a history of mental illness and had also been hospitalized a couple of times, the latest being in April 2019.

People started fearing the worst when his personal belongings were found by the side of the Manhattan Park on June 19.

Love pouring in

After the tweet from the NYPD, social media has been flooded with messages from his fans paying their last respects. The official account of the YouTube creators stated that they extend their heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and fans and mourned his loss.

Luke Finnegan, a fan who started the signature campaign, said that Etika pioneered gaming on YouTube and he solely put the social media platform on the world map with his streams and videos. He also demanded that YouTube reinstate Etika’s account so that his memory and legacy lives on.

Treatment for mental illnesses

Etika came from a very prominent family of politicians, lawyers, and diplomats. He had also managed to add many feathers to his own cap. Yet, he suffered from mental illnesses, proving that mental illnesses happen irrespective of social standing, political background, money, or status.

Untreated mental illnesses lead to adverse consequences including suicide ideation and attempts. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 0.6 percent or 1.4 million people aged 18 or older attempted suicide in the past year. Unfortunately, suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of deaths in the U.S., and the best way to help someone with suicidal tendencies is to convince them to seek treatment.

If you or a loved one is battling mental health disorders or experiencing suicidal ideation, then get in touch with the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline. We offer credible information about mental rehabilitation health helpline centers available near you. Call our 24/7 mental health helpline (855) 653-8178 or chat online for further assistance.