You’ve heard the news by now, and probably suspected the worst, but it has sadly been confirmed that Desmond “Etika” Amofah is in fact deceased. After going missing earlier this month, fans and online personalities suspected the worst for the up-and-coming 29 year-old. In his final video, since removed by YouTube, Ekita apologized to various people both online and in his personal life. He went missing on June 19th after uploading this final video. His personal belongings were found a short while later on a Manhattan bridge.
Amofah has struggled with issues including mental health in the past, and many suspect that these played a part in his death, although this has not been confirmed.
If someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please, reach out to them and offer support and comfort. If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, you’re not alone. There are resources out there to help and people that care.
If you’re in the US, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help. You can find more resources over on PBS as well.
Desmond “Etika” Amofah built his identity online by being what many described as funny and charismatic. Etika became popular on YouTube through his Nintendo videos, such as his reactions to Nintendo Direct presentations. He also covered general niches in gaming, with a focus on fighting games, the FGC and Nintendo titles.
It’s been well-known to fans of his that his mental health issues were a long and deeply personal struggle. These came to a head last April when local police stormed his home while he was livestreaming. Etika’s struggles saw him hospitalized on more than one occasion, though treatment was seemingly ineffective.
And if you’re a fan reading this and you feel outraged or angry, let this be a wakeup call. There has been a steady increase in the rate of suicides in the US alone since 1999, reaching a new high of 45,000 per year in 2016. Reporting from the CDC shows a more than 30% increase. In 1999, about 10.5 suicides occurred per 100,000 people, the CDC report said. In 2017, the rate was 14 per 100,000.
And when combined with the state of mental healthcare in the US and around the globe, things are likely to get worse. It’s estimated that as many as 46% of US adults experience some kind of mental illness in their lives. 5% of adults (18 or older) experience a mental illness in any one year, equivalent to 43.8 million people. And out of that only an estimated 41% of people suffering from mental health problems sought help in a given year. Those with serious mental illness only received professional care about 63% of the time.
If you want to be part of the solution to this worsening crisis, there are things you can do. Donate to NAMI or other worthy charity organizations aimed at helping those with mental health issues. You could also reach out to your local legislators and help spread the word about the desperate need for mental health reform.