The family of a New Jersey mother-of-two who died last month is furious Facebook did not remove a disturbing photo she posted moments before she took her own life.
Pamela Bryce-Elarabi died on June 23 at a New Jersey hospital, hours after she posted a graphic image to her Facebook page of herself preparing to commit suicide, reports Daily Mail.
According to Market Watch, the picture was so upsetting that her sister Gillian Luchejko called their brother and asked him to go by Elarabi's New Jersey home to check on her.
By the time the brother arrived, friends who saw Elarabi's post had already sent police and paramedics to her Hillsborough home.
Elarabi, who was a yoga instructor, was rushed to the hospital but died after her family made the difficult decision to remove life support. Several of her friends wrote in the comments section of her posts that the 49-year-old had reportedly hung herself.
Luchejko told Market Watch that as her and family stood by Elarabi's side at the hospital, they were bombarded with messages from concerned friends who saw the image Elarabi had posted.
"People kept texting us, asking what was going on, and what the Facebook post was about, and I was thinking, 'I can't answer you right now because she is dying,'" Luchejko said. "Everyone felt helpless".
The family said they contacted Facebook about the image and more than 200 of Elarabi's friends reported it to administrators, but the company did not take it down.
It remained at the top of Elarabi's page for three days after her death until her 26-year-old daughter hacked into her mother's account and deleted the post herself.
"It was very traumatic for her. Her children are now traumatized because this is the last image they saw of their mom – they can't remember her the way she was," she told the outlet.
Luchejko said before the post was removed it was flooded with comments from people supporting the family through the tragedy, and others who criticized them for not doing more to help Elarabi, who Luchejko said was going through a divorce and had suffered from depression her entire.
According to Luchejko, one message read: "Why wasn't anyone there for you?" Another person posted "we all let you down". Luchejko said someone else wrote that suicide is a selfish choice.
She said the comments were especially hard for Elarabi's children to see.
"You don't know what is happening off of Facebook," Luchejko said. "Facebook is not reality. Sometimes people don't understand that. Obviously if someone is suicidal, they have gotten to a point of no return, and it's really hard to get them back."
Luchejko said Facebook needs to have a better way for people to report dire posts and images.
"They are looking at whether we get fake news or spam, not inappropriate posts or what to do in a situation that is dire. Why isn't there anyone to contact directly? Why isn't there a customer service phone number to say this is an emergency? It just shows Facebook does not care about their customers."
A spokeswoman for Facebook told the DailyMail.com that she could not comment specifically on Elarabi's case because the photo was no longer on her Facebook page.
The site's Help Center lists steps users are to take if they or someone they know are experiencing suicidal thoughts. According to Facebook's guidelines, users should immediately contact local law enforcement and then reach out to the person they are concerned about.
Facebook also asks that users report the content so they can reach out to the person and provide them with helpful information.
Luchejko said other despairing posts Elarabi shared that day remain on her page. One post she wrote at 8.25pm, about a half hour before she committed suicide, said: "F*** this".
Earlier that June 22 day, Elarabi told friends and family: "I am trying to keep cool… I have never been this upset in my life… I'm at a complete loss."
She had also shared pictures of her trying different yoga poses and at the Solstice Yoga Fest in New York City. Some friends had commented on the image telling Elarabi how happy she looked.
In a post last month, Elarabi commented on the suicide's of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade encouraging anyone struggling with depression to seek help.
"First Kate Spade… then Anthony Bourdain?!?! Take it from someone who suffers from Major Depression Disorder and Anxiety… there IS help for those days when you just can't take it anymore," she wrote.
"Those who know me well, know that I've been that route and am currently suffering through a very bad part (in) my life, however, I refuse to be a statistic. Reach out for help… there are facilities everywhere! Contact me!!! Anything but the "easy" way out… please!! That's never easy for anyone."
The family said they won't have a funeral for Elarabi. They will instead honor the yoga enthusiast and loving mother during a private memorial on September 3, what would have been her 50th birthday.
"She never believed that she was loved, which I think was part of the problem. Now, there are a lot of people reaching out. It's nice to know about all the people that loved her, the outpouring is just wonderful", Luchejko said.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234
There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.