The story of Katelyn Nicole Davis

The story of Katelyn Nicole Davis

In this article, titled “The story of Katelyn Nicole Davis” we are talking about the case of a 12-years-old girl who sadly felt that her only choice is to end her own life. We are talking about the reason behind her decision, and about suicide prevention as well. 

Who was Katelyn Nicole Davis?

Katelyn Nicole Davis (February 20, 2004 – December 30, 2016), known online by the username ITZ Dolly, was a 12-year-old American girl who committed suicide. According to Gone Too Soon fandom, Katelyn hanged herself from a tree in her backyard while live-streaming the event online. 

The video was shared on social media, particularly on Facebook. The resulting publicity brought an outpouring of online support and attention to the issues of suicide causes and prevention, child abuse, bullying, and the appropriate use of social media. 

The struggles Katelyn Nicole Davis was going through 

Katelyn Nicole Davis was an active blogger on multiple social media sites and recorded dozens of videos in the last month of her life. The videos detailed insight upon the experiences in her life, leading up to the day of her death. 

In various videos, she sings, shares spiritual philosophy, or takes care of her two younger siblings. In other videos, she argues with her mother, alleges criminal activity, breaks down emotionally, and claims being neglected by her biological father alongside being physically and sexually abused by her stepfather.

 In one of her videos, she mentioned that her stepfather encouraged her to kill herself. She commented: “He told me I should go hang myself because I was worthless.

The allegations of abuse caused the Polk County Police to open an investigation.

Davis also said that she had been bullied at school and that she had been a victim of catfishing by someone pretending to be of the opposite sex online.

Davis considered herself to be emo and struggled with depression. She had previous suicide attempts, most recently through medication overdose, for which she was hospitalized.

 She also engaged in self-harm, cutting her wrists and thighs, just a few days before her death. She also sought to help others overcome problems with both self-harm and depression.

Katelyn Nicole Davis’s Wisdom: Inner Beauty and God

According to one of the fan pages dedicated to Katelyn, in one of her videos, Katelyn talked about outer and inner beauty, along with the significance of religion. 

Her words below weren’t rehearsed or anything but were spoken casually while applying makeup. They show a depth of wisdom and love, and would be inspired coming from an adult, much less a 12-year-old! It’s hard to talk intelligently while doing something else, and also while kids are constantly distracting you. 

It’s hard to be spiritual in the midst of busy everyday life, especially while living in an extremely unpleasant environment. She’s lovingly spiritual with definite beliefs that she’s not afraid to share, but not preachy or arrogant about them, which is a rare combination.

 She’s what one might call “a true Christian”, who actually lives the values that Jesus embodied. I dare say her gentle and loving, yet strong and practical, words and example would do a better job of inspiring people toward a more spiritual life than all the classical evangelical proselytizers out there put together.

Katelyn Nicole Davis Video Suicide

At the close of 2016, 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis decided that she had had enough of her life in a small, rural town in Georgia. So she did what most teens do nowadays — she took to social media to share her feelings of angst, depression, and hopelessness. She was, by all accounts, a person doing the best she could in coping with depression and an alleged abuser within her own home.

What she did, however, is becoming an increasingly common and disturbing consequence of our society virtually ignoring people who are troubled by suicide and suicidal thoughts. She decided to live-stream her death on Facebook Live.

People around the world are outraged that this video still is available to be viewed online. According to PsychCentre, attempts to erase it from the collective memory of the Internet have been in vain.

 And it’s no wonder — death, gore, violence, sexual assault, and accidents all pique humanity’s collective curiosity and morbid interest. It reminds us that everything you post online will take on an uncontrollable life of its own if it becomes popular — and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.

All that outrage is completely misdirected, however. Outrage shouldn’t fall on the fact that our technology and tools allow such videos to be produced and distributed so easily — all you need is a mobile phone purchased at your local Walmart. 

You can’t stop the inevitable progress of technology, nor regulate how people will use it. The Internet just works around such attempts at regulation and provides other avenues for people.

The problem is suicide.

The problem is a society that has so few social resources available to its poor and those most in emotional need that a 12-year-old feels her only choice is to end her own life.

The story of Katelyn Nicole Davis

Suicide prevention

According to the World Health Organisation statistics, close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year,  that’s one person every 40 seconds. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts.

Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts families, friends, colleagues, communities, and societies.

Suicides are preventable. Much can be done to prevent suicide at individual, community and national levels. 

Suicide occurs in all regions of the world. In fact, 79% of global suicides happen in low- and middle-income countries.

While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis. Further risk factors include the experience of loss, loneliness, discrimination, a relationship break-up, financial problems, chronic pain and illness, violence, abuse, and conflict or other humanitarian emergencies. 

The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

Much can be done to prevent suicide. WHO recommends four key interventions which have proven to be effective:

  • restricting access to means
  • working with the media to ensure responsible reporting of suicide.
  • helping young people develop skills to cope with life’s pressures
  • early identification and management of people who are thinking about suicide or who have made a suicide attempt, keeping follow-up contact in the short and longer-term

What to do if someone is attempting suicide

  • If safe for you to do so, remove the person’s access to any means of suicide or self-harm. For example, medicines, a rope, a knife or a firearm.
  • Stay with the person while you’re making contact with the services listed above. It’s important to keep the person safe. This might also mean organizing for someone else to stay with them until they get help.
  • Once you have contacted the services, go with the person or wait with them while the services arrive.

Get urgent help for a mental health crisis

A mental health crisis often means that you no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation.

In a crisis, it is important that you get help as soon as possible.

You may:

  • feel great emotional distress or anxiety
  • feel you can’t cope with day-to-day life or work
  • think about suicide or self-harm
  • experience hallucinations and hearing voices.

A crisis can also be the result of an underlying medical condition.

For example, confusion or delusions caused by:

  • an infection
  • an overdose
  • illicit drugs
  • intoxication with alcohol.

Where to get help

  • GP and health centers
  • Hospital emergency services
  • Go to or call the emergency department of your local general hospital.
  • Telephone emergency services

Conclusions

Twelve-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis needed to be heard. And since nobody would listen to her in life, perhaps we’ll listen more carefully to her in death. 

Looking after our mental health should be a priority. If you are feeling down and like there is no solution to your problems, you should know that you are not alone. Reach out and seek help, as you deserve to get better and out there is the support that you need. 

If you are concerned about a loved one, express your worries and practice active listening. Sometimes being heard and feeling understood is the first step towards reaching out for help. 

Let’s be more aware of our mental health. Life matters.

Please feel free to comment and leave your questions in the comments section below. 

Further reading

  1. The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention 
  2. Working With Self Harm and Suicidal Behaviour 
  3. Suicide Prevention Life Matters: Notebook
  4. Professional Suicide Intervention Techniques for the Mental Health Practitioner
  5. Suicide Prevention (Oxford Psychiatry Library Series)
  6. Suicide Prevention Techniques

References

  1. PsychCentral.com – Outrage Over Katelyn Nicole Davis Video Suicide Misses the Point
  2. WHO – Suicide Prevention
  3. What to do if someone is attempting suicide – HSE

The story of Katelyn Nicole Davis

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.