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Advent can be a difficult time. It has long been recognized as a period when the mind turns to morbid thoughts and memories of the past. This is why ghost stories are popular during December. Psychology Today explains (here) why people get depressed at Christmastime:
We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.
A young man, thought to be Canadian university student, broadcast his suicide attempt online Saturday night, downing pills and booze and setting his residence room on fire. While the disturbed 20-year-old huddled under his bed and keyed in what he expected were his dying thoughts, some of the 200 people watching egged him on, Postmedia News reported.
A report of the bizarre incident first surfaced on the Daily Dot web site Sunday, Postmedia News said. It apparently began earlier Saturday evening when the man, identified as "Stephen," posted a notice on 4chan, a notoriously freewheeling bulletin board, that he was prepared to kill himself on camera but needed help setting up the broadcast. ...
Once the chat room was live, Stephen swallowed some unidentified pills and chased them with vodka. He then set a small fire in the corner of his room using a toaster and crawled under his bed, apparently bringing his laptop with him.
“#imdead," he typed, according to Daily Dot. "#omgimonfire."
While some of the 200 viewers – with more clamouring to get into the chat room – urged Stephen to stop, others apparently encouraged him, even suggesting better ways to kill himself, such as dropping the toaster in the bathtub, Postmedia News said.
Others complained the thickening smoke from the fire was obscuring their view and those who couldn't access the video stream demanded frame grabs, according to an account in Britain's MailOnline.
The spectacle ended when firefighters burst into the room, doused the flames and hauled Stephen out.
Stephen's identity has not been revealed but reports suggest the incident took place at the University of Guelph in southern Ontario. ...
The incident has focused attention on 4chan and especially its /b/ Random site, which Postmedia News said is home to some of the web's strangest and most disturbing stuff. Users there quickly dubbed Stephen "Toaster Steve" and some mocked him for not actually dying.