newslearning from twitch warning signs that may save a life

Learning from the death of tWitch: Warning signs to look for that may save a life

Stephen 'tWitch' Boss
(© DFree – Shutterstock)

Mental health does not discriminate. It affects people who are famous or not, rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, young and old.

tWitch, also known as Stephen Boss, was Ellen’s DJ and dancer. To most, his videos on social media portrayed a happy man with a beautiful family. His death by suicide earlier this week came as a shock to his family, colleagues and his fans. He was 40 years old.

His grandfather, Eddy Boss, said there were “no signs” Boss was in distress in the last days of his life.

When his grandfather last spoke to him over the weekend, Boss was the “same happy-go-lucky person that he’s always been,” he told the Daily Mail.

“We had no indication that anything was out of the ordinary.”

The final text sent by Boss to his grandfather was “I love you Dad-Dad,” Eddy told the Daily Mail.

The family is “completely devastated.”

Ellen DeGeneres also issued a statement through Instagram.

“I’m heartbroken. tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart.I will miss him. Please send your love and support to Allison and his beautiful children – Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia.”

Warning signs

It is possible that someone who dies by suicide does not have any warning signs leading up to their death, but it is rare. It’s normal for everyone to experience feelings of sadness. However, if the sadness doesn’t go away, or if you are noticing major changes in your loved ones behavior, it might be a warning sign that your loved one may need professional help for their mental health.

Knowing what to be looking for could help you save a life.

Warning signs may include:

  • Talking or writing about suicide or death
  • Looking online for ways to kill oneself; buying items to use in suicide attempt
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Acting recklessly: Alcohol, drugs, driving too fast
  • Anger
  • Low energy
  • Withdrawing from others, or activities
  • Cutting/self injury
  • Giving away possessions
  • Negative or critical self talk
  • Aches, pains or stomach issues

How to help

Here are some ways you can help a friend if you are worried about their well being:

  • Check in with them more often
  • Offer to do enjoyable things together: This won’t eliminate depression but may bring a temporary sense of connection and happiness. Just being with other people instead of alone is usually a good thing. If they say no, that’s OK. Just keep asking.
  • Listen to your friend, ask follow-up questions, respond with supportive statements not advice
  • Encourage your friend to get help from a professional

Tyler Perry’s struggles

Actor and Director Tyler Perry took to Instagram to post about his own struggles. He said in he had only met Boss a couple of times.

“I just want to take you back to a time in my life when I tried to commit suicide, a couple of times, because it was so dark I didn’t think it would get any better,” Perry said. “I had endured so much pain, so much abuse, sexual abuse, it was all so hard to just move through that I thought the only way to make this better was to end my life.

“Had any of those attempts happened, I would’ve missed the best part of my life.”

Perry used his story to encourage others to ask for help.

“I know it may seem like there’s no hope, but please reach out to someone. Call, ask for help, if you are dealing with anything, anything that is emotionally taking you to a place where you think you want to end your life.

“I’m saying that to you, if you are a person who’s considering suicide, ending your life, and you’ve already been through a lot of hell, please think about what the other side could be. It could be amazing.

“I’m a living witness you can make it through it.”

988 Lifeline

988 hotline

If you need advice for how to talk to a friend or you are worried about a loved one or yourself, a lifeline is available 24 hours a day.

Unlike 911, dialing 988 doesn’t connect you to fire or police. Instead, 988 will direct you to a trained counselor to provide support and resources to the caller.


Project Mental Health, a service of Augusta Free Press

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Holiday blues have you down? You are not alone if you struggle during the Christmas season

Teens: Are you worried about a friend? Start with asking, ‘Are you OK?’

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

Latest News


#8 Virginia opens Disharoon Park homestand with 8-3 win over High Point

mike hollins uva football

Mike Hollins back at UVA practice: ‘It is literally a miracle that I’m here today’

Mike Hollins spent 20 minutes taking questions from the media on Tuesday, his first extended Q&A since the tragic events of Nov. 13 that took the lives of teammates Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

Shaun Alexanderlane Hiner

Bedford County authorities searching for Blue Ridge teen missing since Monday

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a 16-year-old.

alycia cooper

National comedian Alycia Cooper brings short film to Vinegar Hill Theatre

Virginia Beach oceanfront concert

Virginia Beach concert series announces first six performances


Podcast: Joey Logano wins in Atlanta, plus the latest on Jimmie Johnson

ncaa tournament

Sweet 16 Thursday Preview: More upsets in the offing in East, West regions?