Veteran Twitch streamer Jaryd ‘Summit1g‘ Lazar had to take a break from his usual jovial personality on stream to address a concerning donation message, which hinted that the fan was possibly considering suicide.
One of the benefits of being a popular Twitch streamer is seeing the donations pour in from viewers, often accompanied by a supportive message, but as many streamers will attest, these messages are not always easy to respond to.
It’s true that livestreaming platforms like Twitch can be somewhat of a safe haven for lonely people, a place to join a community and interact, forming a relationship of sorts with a broadcaster – albeit a one-sided one.
This can make some particularly loyal viewers comfortable in sharing very personal messages with streamers, either simply in the chat, or through donation messages.
For a stream as popular as Summit1g’s, which never fails to pull in tens of thousands of viewers, often the only way for him to see an individual message is through tips.
During his March 26 stream, Lazar received a $30 donation, in which the donator explained that “it was a hard night” and they were considering “[letting] everything go”, and even mentioned that they loved their daughter.
Immediately showing concern, Summit1g attempted to reassure the donator that “not matter what the problem is, there’s always a solution […] especially if you have kids.”
He continued, encouraging the viewer to reach out to friends and family, and not to bottle things up, and pleading with him to stick around and try to enjoy the stream.
“I want to try to put a smile on your face, so just stick around for a little while, alright brother?” he said, “Stick around, ok Speadra? Chill here.”
While this donation was almost certainly genuine, things are complicated for streamers due to the number of “troll” donations that are sent, falsely trying to portray serious issues to trick broadcasters into responding seriously.
Other popular channels have spoken up about making ‘suicidal’ or ‘cry for help’ donations too, namely Ben ‘DrLupo’ Lupo and Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins who advised that streamers, while often happy to help, are not psychiatrists, and should not be relied on for help with mental health issues.
If you are looking for someone to talk to, you can call the United States’ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or text HELP to 741741.
If you are from outside the United States, you can use the below numbers:
UK (Samaritans): 116 123