Facebook Refuses to Help Family as Mom’s ‘Suicide Photo’ Goes Viral
Pamela Bryce-Elarabi died on June 23 hours after she posted a disturbing image
The social media giant Facebook has been criticized after failing to remove a viral photo of a mother of two moments before she committed suicide.
Pamela Bryce-Elarabi died on June 23 hours after she posted a disturbing image of herself 'preparing to commit suicide' to Facebook.
The image was so upsetting that Bryce-Elarabi's sister, Gillian Luchejko, called their brother and asked him to go and check on her at her Jersey home.
When the brother arrived, he found police and paramedics to her Hillsborough home.
Elarabi was rushed to hospital but died after her family made the difficult decision of switching off her life support.
The 49-year old had reportedly hung herself.
According to The DM: Luchejko told Market Watch that as her and family stood by Elarabi’s side at the hospital, they were bombarded with messages from concerned friends who saw the image Elarabi had posted.
‘People kept texting us, asking what was going on, and what the Facebook post was about, and I was thinking, “I can’t answer you right now because she is dying,’” Luchejko said.
‘Everyone felt helpless’.
The family said they contacted Facebook about the image and more than 200 of Elarabi's friends reported it to administrators, but the company did not take it down.
It remained at the top of Elarabi’s page for three days after her death until her 26-year-old daughter found her mom's password and deleted the post herself.
‘It was very traumatic for her. Her children are now traumatized because this is the last image they saw of their mom – they can’t remember her the way she was,' she told the outlet.
Luchejko said before the post was removed it was flooded with comments from people supporting the family through the tragedy, and others who criticized them for not doing more to help Elarabi, who Luchejko said was going through a divorce and had suffered from depression her entire life.
According to Luchejko, one message read:
‘Why wasn’t anyone there for you?’
Another person posted 'we all let you down'. Luchejko said someone else wrote that suicide is a selfish choice.
She said the comments were especially hard for Elarabi's children to see.
‘You don’t know what is happening off of Facebook,’ Luchejko said.
‘Facebook is not reality. Sometimes people don’t understand that.
Obviously, if someone is suicidal, they have gotten to a point of no return, and it’s really hard to get them back.’
Luchejko said Facebook needs to have a better way for people to report dire posts and images.
‘They are looking at whether we get fake news or spam, not inappropriate posts or what to do in a situation that is dire.
Why isn’t there anyone to contact directly?
Why isn’t there a customer service phone number to say this is an emergency?
It just shows Facebook does not care about their customers.’
A spokeswoman for Facebook told the DailyMail.com that she could not comment specifically on Elarabi's case because the photo was no longer on her Facebook page.
The site's Help Center lists steps users are to take if they or someone they know are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
According to Facebook's guidelines, users should immediately contact local law enforcement and then reach out to the person they are concerned about.
Facebook also asks that users report the content so they can reach out to the person and provide them with helpful information.
Luchejko said other despairing posts Elarabi shared that day remain on her page. One post she wrote at 8.25pm, about a half hour before she committed suicide, said: 'F*** this'.
Earlier that June 22 day, Elarabi told friends and family: ‘I am trying to keep cool… I have never been this upset in my life… I’m at a complete loss.’
She had also shared pictures of her trying different yoga poses and at the Solstice Yoga Fest in New York City. Some friends had commented on the image telling Elarabi how happy she looked.
In a post last month, Elarabi commented on the suicide's of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade encouraging anyone struggling with depression to seek help.
‘First Kate Spade… then Anthony Bourdain?!?! Take it from someone who suffers from Major Depression Disorder and Anxiety… there IS help for those days when you just can’t take it anymore,' she wrote.
'Those who know me well, know that I’ve been that route and am currently suffering through a very bad part (in) my life, however, I refuse to be a statistic. Reach out for help… there are facilities everywhere! Contact me!!! Anything but the “easy” way out… please!! That’s never easy for anyone.’
The family said they won't have a funeral for Elarabi.
They will instead honor the yoga enthusiast and loving mother during a private memorial on September 3, what would have been her 50th birthday.
‘She never believed that she was loved, which I think was part of the problem.
Now, there are a lot of people reaching out. It’s nice to know about all the people that loved her, the outpouring is just wonderful’, Luchejko said.