Mother Shares Son's Tragic Suicide Story, Blaming Social Media

Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty shares her son James' suicide story in a TV documentary, believing social media played a significant role in his tragic decision. James, a 16-year-old athlete, took his own life in 2016 after receiving a threatening message on his X-Box account.

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Nitish Verma
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Mother Shares Son's Tragic Suicide Story, Blaming Social Media

Mother Shares Son's Tragic Suicide Story, Blaming Social Media

Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty, a mother from Cleveleys in Lancashire, has shared the heartbreaking story of her son James Doherty's suicide in a powerful TV documentary. James, a gifted 16-year-old athlete, took his own life in August 2016, and his mother believes that social media played a significant role in his tragic decision.

On the surface, James seemed to be enjoying life. He had passed his GCSEs and was working as a lifeguard. However, unbeknownst to Joanne, her son owed someone £400 and received a threatening message on his X-Box account just two days before his death. A police investigation later revealed that James's social media and gaming accounts were a significant factor in his decision to end his life.

Why this matters: The story highlights the darker side of social media and its potential impact on the mental health of young people, serving as a warning to parents and policymakers to take action. As social media use continues to rise among adolescents, it is crucial to address the risks associated withonline interactions and to develop strategies to mitigate them.

Joanne believes that social media "tipped him over the edge." She admits, "I had no idea what he was getting into...You don't know what conversations they're having [on social media], or the language they're using on there." The 24-minute documentary, which is part of a larger debate about the harms of children using social media, features Joanne bravely sharing her son's story to raise awareness about this critical issue.

In the documentary, Joanne emphasizes that the problems are even worse for young people today, as being constantly connected to their smartphones has become the norm. She states, "If you haven't got a phone when you start high school, you're going to be bullied. It's wrong. Social media has taken over the whole concept of the world."

Since her son's tragic death, Joanne has become a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and support. She has founded a suicide bereavement support group and a charity called Doherty's Destiny to help others who are struggling with similar issues. Joanne's message is clear: anyone who is having difficulties with their mental health should reach out for help. Samaritans, a UK-based charity, offers free and confidential support 24/7 via phone at 116 123 or email at jo@samaritans.org.

James Doherty's story is a tragic reminder of the hidden dangers that social media can pose to vulnerable young people. Through her brave and tireless efforts, Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty is working to ensure that her son's death was not in vain, and that other families do not have to endure the same heartbreak.

Key Takeaways

  • James Doherty, 16, took his own life in 2016 after receiving threatening messages on his X-Box account.
  • Social media and gaming accounts were a significant factor in his decision to end his life.
  • Mom Joanne believes social media "tipped him over the edge" and is now a mental health advocate.
  • Joanne founded a charity, Doherty's Destiny, to help others struggling with mental health issues.
  • The story highlights the darker side of social media and its impact on young people's mental health.