Grieving B.C. mom wants 'sinister' online suicide forum shut down after son's death

He seemed fine.

In fact, his mother said, he seemed happy that last month.

But the 21-year-old Langley, B.C., resident was struggling.

And what Jaden’s mom, Isabella, didn’t know is that her only child had discovered a suicide forum where he was given details on how to kill himself.

“For five weeks they coached him on how to take his own life by giving him instructions, encouraging him and normalizing it for him,” said Isabella, who didn’t want her last name used.

She told CTV News her son, who loved hockey and had worked as a lifeguard, began acting differently last year.

“When COVID(-19) hit, he started to express some anxiety. In December, it got quite bad. I was concerned about him,” she explained.

Jaden went to a doctor. He declined medication, but his mom said by January and into February, he seemed happy again.

Then one night he told her he was going to a friend’s house.

“He smiled at me and went out the door and said, 'Bye mom,'" Isabella recalled. "And I said, 'Bye Jaden, love you,’ like I always did."

She would never see him again.

“I miss everything (about him)…We were very close,” an emotional Isabella said.

She was horrified to later discover on his phone that he had joined an online suicide forum.

She said she contacted the RCMP about what she discovered, but was told there wasn’t much police could do as the website is from a jurisdiction outside of Canada.

But Isabella said other countries have taken action to block the forum and she thinks the same should be done here.

CTV News contacted the RCMP but has yet to receive a response.

B.C.'s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions called the website content “abhorrent," but said in a statement that the matter doesn’t fall under its jurisdiction

“For any questions regarding the process to ban a website or submitting a complaint about a foreign website, please connect with the federal government," it said.

Renee, a family friend who works with vulnerable youth, also believes something should be done about the online suicide forum.

“Once they got their tentacles in (Jaden), they indoctrinated him,” she said. “These sites are sinister and it’s a crime.”

Renee said she’s seen mental health issues skyrocket during the pandemic, and urged anyone struggling to reach out for help.

“Any trouble or pain or trauma you go through, you think it’s going to be that way forever and it’s not,” she explained.

Isabella said she supports medical assistance in dying for people who are terminally ill, but that her son “was a superstar for the first 20 years of his life and was struggling for a very short time.”

She decided to share her story to warn other parents and their children about the hidden dangers lurking online.

“I have to live the rest of my life with this pain because of some strangers in another part of the world manipulating my son who was obviously very vulnerable and feeling weak,” she said through tears.

In its statement, the Ministry of Mental Health noted that counselling or aiding suicide is illegal in Canada, except when "provided by a medical practitioner in the circumstances defined in the Criminal Code." It also encouraged anyone who knows someone struggling to reach out and offer their support.

"Support can be calling someone who is alone, sending a text to a friend, offering personal support, and connecting them to services that can give them the resources they need,” the ministry said.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, support services can be reached through The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, which offers around-the-clock support.

Support is also available through Canada's suicide prevention line at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), the Kuu-us Indigenous Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717, or B.C.'s newly launched Wellbeing website.