Fashionista’s Suicide Draws Attention to Facebook Bullying

Feb 2013

Ashley Riggitano was a budding young fashion designer who ran a jewelry business along with a friend. Tragically, on her 22nd birthday, she jumped from the George Washington Bridge and died. She left behind a suicide note signaling out a man that she was having problems with, along with several friends who had engaged in bullying behavior on Facebook.

The young fashionista’s death is drawing renewed attention to the problem of Facebook bullying. Abusive behavior via Facebook and online social media sources has been the cause of numerous suicides in recent years. This tragic high-profile case is yet another reminder of the serious consequences of online harassment. Suicide malpractice lawyer Skip Simpson hopes that this tragic death draws attention to Facebook bullying and puts us one step closer to ending bullying behavior online in order to prevent senseless deaths from occurring.

The Facebook Bullying and Suicide

Ashley Riggitano was described by her part-time employer as a relatively happy person. Her family and friends indicated that, although she suffered from depression, she did not allow her depression to overshadow her life. She was described as a girl who had outlined specific goals for her future and who was thriving in her jewelry design business.

Unfortunately, a Facebook feud and some negative comments directed at her apparently pushed her over the edge and led her to take her own life. In one of the published comments, as reported by the Daily Mail, a former friend posted on her Facebook page a suggestion that she go kill herself on Xanax. The same “friend” also referred to her as a loser.

Clearly, this negative posting, as well as others posted by five friends identified in Riggitano’s suicide note, was a major contributing factor in causing Riggitano to end her own life. It is likely that those who engaged in the Facebook bullying never actually wanted for the 22-year-old to kill herself. Yet, like so many instances of Facebook bullying, the negative posts had a consequence far greater than the posters would have imagined.

The tragic story of the suicide, along with the specific note indicating that Facebook friends were the cause, will hopefully help to raise awareness further about the severe consequences that online bullying can have. It is important that people realize that these types of actions can truly cause someone to do something drastic and end a life.

Monitoring for Signs of Suicide

Although Facebook may have been one of the causes of Riggitano’s death, she had previously attempted suicide in the past, and she was on medications to fight depression.

This raises questions as to whether she was under the care of a mental health professional. If so, the mental health professional would have responsibilities to properly assess for suicide. It is the job of therapists and mental health professionals to monitor for signs of suicide and to intervene if someone appears to be at risk for suicide.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.

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