NEW YORK — YouTube star Logan Paul has returned to YouTube with a 7-minute suicide prevention video he hopes will “make a difference in the world.”
The Westlake native was suspended by YouTube after posting video of him in a forest in Japan near what seemed to be a body hanging from a tree. The location is known in Japan as a frequent site for suicides.
He returned to the video sharing platform Wednesday with a new video in which he speaks to suicide prevention experts and offers steps to help others, seeking to “further understand the complexity surrounding suicide.”
“It’s time to learn from the past as I get better and grow as a human being,” Paul said. “I’m here to have a hard conversation so that those who are suffering can have easier ones.”
“I’ve never been so humbled in my life by a single event,” Paul said as he began a conversation with Bob Forrest, Alo House Recovery Center founder.
“You’ve never known anybody that killed themselves?”Forrest asked Paul.
“No. That was part of the problem. Just my ignorance of the subject,” Paul responded.
“But in Ohio where you come from, it’s the second leading cause of death,” Forrest said.
“I know while I’m not able to solve the problem by myself, I want to be part of the solution,” Paul said.
About 800,000 people die by suicide each year around the world. That means one person every 40 seconds take their own life.
In the video Paul turned to experts for help in understanding the problem.
Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, told Paul, “Help people understand that the first thing they need to do is reach out and talk to somebody when they’re feeling despair. Because you’re not alone with it anymore.”
“They’ve done studies with people who are experiencing any kind of pain — including hanging off a cliff,” Draper said. “You can hold on a lot longer if someone is right there with you.”
Paul shared Dr. Draper’s five steps to help prevent suicide:
- Ask. Ask yourself, ask others, “Are you thinking about suicide?”
- Listen. Be present. Don’t make any judgements.
- Be there. Be someone they can depend on.
- Help connect. Help them reach out to someone for help so they don’t have to do it alone.
- Check in. Show them that you care. Call or visit to keep the conversation going.
One of the most powerful moments in the video came when Paul talked with Kevin Hines. He attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 17 years ago. He survived.
“In the millisecond that my hands cleared the rail and my legs flew over it was an instant regret,” Hines said of his suicide attempt at the age of 19.
“The depression was wiped from my mind and all I wanted to do was live, and I thought ‘It’s too late,’” he said.
“All I wanted was for one person to look me in my eyes and say ‘Hey, are you okay?’ Hines said.
“I am so grateful to be alive,” he said. “It was almost all ripped from me, by me.”
Hines got emotional when he told Paul what he would have said to his younger self. “I would just put my hand on my shoulder and I would just say, ‘I’m here for you. I got you.’”
“We need to be a society that comes together for every person in the community that’s going through hell,” Hines said. “In order to do that every person that’s going through hell, whatever hell, has to be honest about their pain.”
“If they’re going to be honest about their pain, we are going to collectively answer the call and be there for that individual,” Hines said. “Because if you don’t see beauty in the next person you meet, you’re not looking hard enough.”
Paul said he would be donating $1 million to various suicide prevention organization.
Paul ended his video by sharing the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is 1-800-273-8255. You can also send a message to the Crisis Textline at 741741.
The video trended number one on YouTube and had more than 8 million views in just 15 hours.
It also had nearly 350,000 comments — many of which were negative.
“Oh my god this guy will do anything for views,” one person wrote.
“Why didn’t YouTube delte this channel,” another said.
He did have supporters as well.
“I think Logan really sincerely wanted to make right here,” one post read.
Another said, “I am just happy to see Logan is back.”