Disclaimer: My purpose when I write an article is to criticize but not bash. I make sure to be as honest as possible and to include as much facts as possible when writing an article, that way I am not committing defamation, or spreading rumors. I would also like to keep in mind that each article is to advance an opinion or criticism I have and I make sure to back it up with evidence. This article will stir up some backlash and possibly upset some readers. But I don't believe in "triggers" or leaving "trigger warnings" so I suggest you read this at your own risk. If you don't like, simply click out of it.
I only discovered this recently and already I am terrified by what I see.
Emily LeRae Smith currently has over 200,000 Facebook followers, and struggles with mental illness and self-mutilation. She is a wannabe therapist who supposedly gives advice to other people struggling with problems similar to hers. She has received praise and support from thousands for her battle with Bipolar Disorder and self-harm. But like every internet celebrity with followers, Emily LeRae Smith has critics. One of them is Youtuber, Mr. Gunk. Mr. Gunk posted a video about Emily LeRae Smith on March 14th, 2017. In the video, he criticized Emily for setting a bad example to her followers and refusing proper medical treatment to her illness. Almost immediately after that, Mr. Gunk received a massive backlash from Emily and her followers. She had posted status about him and asked her followers to report his video.Not only that. But he even got his Facebook account removed because hundreds of Emily's followers reported him!
Like Mr. Gunk, I believe Emily LeRae Smith sets a bad example for teenagers struggling with mental illness and self-harm. She is a corrupting influence for anyone with said problems and if I didn’t know any better, I would say that she is encouraging people to self-harm themselves. She doesn’t take her own advice, so she shouldn't be giving followers advice.
I skimmed her Facebook, I noticed in almost all of her pictures, she has cuts on her arms, legs, neck and even chest, and in recent photos there are new cuts in places I haven’t seen them before. She also seems to wear clothing that exposes these scars, (tank-tops, sleeveless shirts, and shorts.) It’s very clear that she seems proud of these cuts, and was still continuing to cut herself despite giving whatever advice she gave to her followers. Unfortunately, I am unable to produce any photos of her, on grounds I’d have to ask for permission first, and even with her permission they would be too graphic to include. But click here if you want to go to Emily LeRae Smith’s Facebook page and view them yourself.
In a Facebook post on February 16, 2016, she claimed she began cutting because she was abused by a family member. She wrote: MY STORY: I know a lot of people are interested in my story, so I'll share a little bit, but not all. I've been reluctant to share because I know people are going to say terrible things but here it goes. Growing up I was severely abused (physically, mentally, emotionally) by a family member. I have a good relationship with them now, but for the first 14 years of my life was different. I was taught to hate myself at a young age. Once the abuse stopped I wasn't sure how to cope with things. I was hurting so deeply from depression & anxiety & I found a release in self harm at 13-14 years old. It progressed worse & worse. I hid it from everyone for so long. I lived in sweatshirts for around 3-4 years until I realized that my scars don't make me any less of a person. Whenever I had new cuts I always kept them covered. I've been battling this for 8 years. Depression, anxiety, PTSD. I've had a total of 237 stitches & 58 staples. The last time I self-harmed I hit something & realized if I kept this up I would end up unintentionally killing myself because of how severe the cuts were getting. I've been clean for the longest I have been in over 3 years. I'm not going to lie & say it's easy because it's extremely hard. But every day, every minute, every second you go without self-harm is a victory. There you go. That's SOME of my story. If you have mean comments please don't share them. This is why I started & why I ended it. Hope this answers some questions.
She claimed that she had been clean for over 3 years. And yet, after this post went up, it was clear she was continuing to cut themselves. However, she continued to livestream and post selfies of herself almost every day. She continues to receive praise from thousands of people for her supposed struggle.
In a livestream in August of 2016, which was recently taken down. Emily confessed to having what she called “a slip up.” In the livestream, new scars are visible on her body as well as a bandage on her neck. She claimed it happened after an argument with a friend, who said she wasn’t going to be her friend anymore until Emily sought the proper help she needed. This agitated Emily so badly it caused her to cut her neck. Thankfully, her mother, who is a certified nurse was able to treat her on sight. But I would personally like to ask her mother: Why don’t you get your daughter the professional help she needs? I’ll get to that question in a bit. But this livestream also confirmed that Emily wasn’t only not taking her own advice, but that her advice doesn’t work. In the live stream, she says: “It’s not me fucking up, it’s not anything like that. It was me, very sadly, getting extremely and emotionally upset and giving into urges. And I used my skills, I really did. But they don’t always work.”
They don’t always work! The “skills” I assume she is teaching to her follows didn’t work for her. That says something. Unfortunately, the livestream was taken down when negative criticisms began to surface on the internet, specifically when Youtuber, Mr. Gunk, began bringing light to the issue. (For the record, snippets of the livestream appear in the link. As a matter of fact, most of the evidence which Emily took down can be seen in this video.)
A petition was issued over the internet to get Emily LeRae Smith removed from Facebook. However, it had been ignored by Facebook, and even countered with a petition to prevent her from being removed, saying that: "She promotes body acceptance, self-love, provides coping skills for when people are in distress and educates on mental illness." First of all, body acceptance is about accepting you're body in its natural state and by continuing to inflict scars on yourself, it shows that you don't care for your body's health. Scarring can lead to disfigurement, sensitive skin, infections, and if you are not careful, death. If she is continuing to harm herself, her "coping skills" aren't working and those "coping skills" she is providing might not help those who follow her. Third, she doesn't t have a degree in psychology, so while she maybe give a good insight as a person struggling with mental illness, she is not educating. I know friends who have overcame there illnesses and they are more worthy people to look up too and learn from.
The petition to get Emily removed was created by Rene Marie Ross. She will also be appearing on the Dr. Phil show with Emily. Rene was interviewed by Mr. Gunk on March 16th in a livestream podcast. In the interview, she said that Emily's behavior on the set of Dr. Phil was quiet rude, and she admitted that she wasn't getting professional help. She claims no responsibility for anyone else who was influenced by her to cut themselves, and she accused Dr. Phil of being a bully and a hater. Along with that, Rene confirmed by some members of Emily's family, that Emily was never abused by a family member and as a matter of fact, some family members attempted to reach out to Emily to encourage her to seek treatment. Her family members also admitted she craved attention, which would make sense considering her behavior on Facebook. During the interview, Mr. Gunk's Facebook page was removed.
I was able to talk to Rene later that day, and the things she told me were very interesting. I initially thought Rene was a close friend of Emily, but it turns out that wasn’t the case. Rene Marie Ross was a concerned citizen who reached out to her and tried to help her. She said that she first came across Emily LeRae Smith on the internet in 2014 when it was all over her newsfeed. She simply made a comment suggesting that maybe... just maybe Emily could get help. Emily and her followers did not take kindly to it. Rene said to me: It was just another comment on her profile like everyone else. I don't recall the comment full on since it was so long ago, but I was asking why she did what she did and what was the purpose of her slicing her body up and it was followed by a tremendous amount of hatred from her followers which resulted in the comment being deleted and me wanting to make the petition due to the fact I did my research and felt that she was manipulating the public into doing her dirty work and that she was using them for profit.
I asked her if she felt that her appearance on the Dr. Phil show will accomplish anything, and I was shocked to hear Rene is quite skeptical, believing that it will only feed the attention Emily desires, and it all depends on if she is taking the treatment Dr. Phil plans to provide for her.
After the petition went up, many followers of Emily harassed Rene, and continue to do so. They even targeted her husband and three-year-old child! Rene provided me with screenshots of some of these people. They are shown below. I covered names and locations for their protection, and I urge any readers not to engage in this vigilante behavior. Please don't. It makes you no better.
These photos above are only the tip of the iceberg. Everytime someone has a criticism or an opinion, Emily sends her followers to go after those critics. I also found out you can'[t block Emily's profile on Facebook, you have to ask her to block you! And even then her followers will harrass you!
And if you don't believe me still... go on her Facebook and try it yourself!
I hope I’ve made it clear that Emily LeRae Smith is not role model any teenager struggling with self-harm or mental illness should be looking up to. She tries to set an example of how to overcome self-harm, but she doesn't take her own advice. She glorifies self-mutilation and new cuts have continued to appear on every photo she posts. Her photos and videos are easily "triggering" to get anyone to start cutting themselves or, if you've had a history of self-harm, to relapse back into it. She manipulates her fan base into going after people who have opinions on her, and worst of all, she doesn't take responsibility for the negative influence she has on some people.
At the end of the day, all she seems to live on is the attention she receives.
Is this an inspirational person? I say no. I believe Emily LeRae Smith is the exact opposite. She glorifies self-harm, and manipulates her fans to cyberbully people who don’t agree with her. And I had personally signed the petition to get her removed from Facebook and hopefully she will be given the help she truly needs, which Dr. Phil will supposedly provide for her. But that's my opinion.
I am not a psychologist, nor have I struggled with self-harm. But I do have friends who had. Self-harm is an addiction. It's not something to be proud of. It's not to be worn like a badge, and it should NEVER be glorified.
If you are struggling with self-harm OR a mental illness of any kind, take my advice.... no, I beg you to take my advice. Don't follow Emily LeRae Smith.
If you wish to sign the petition to get Emily LeRae Smith removed from Facebook, click here. Sign it. Share it. And prevent more teenagers from committing self-harm.
P.S. There are better people to look up too, among the celebrities. Example: English comedian, Stephen Fry is open about his struggle with Bipolar Disorder and he is wonderful.
Update: Right after I submitted this article. I found out iin a livestream on Rene's Facebook confirmed that Emily LeRae Smith actually deactivated her Facebook account.