Instagram influencer arrested after faking his own suicide

·4-min read

A social media influencer has been arrested for filming a video faking his own suicide.

Irfan Khan, 28, from India, also known as "Iffy Khan" made a fake suicide video after claiming that a lover rejected him and uploaded it to Instagram for his 44,000 followers to view, Hindustan Times reports.

Mr Khan told Vice News he made it “for entertainment purposes”.

It was widely shared including on Twitter, where it caught the attention of police.

Mr Khan has now been charged with a number of offences including committing an act to endanger the lives of others and himself.

Irfan Khan, 28, is pictured.
Irfan Khan, 28, has been arrested for faking his own death and filming it. Source: Instagram/ Irfan Khan

The video has been deleted as family and friends actually believed he had died.

He has issued a public apology over the video.

“My intention was never bad or to encourage people to [die by] suicide,” he told Vice News.

Shubham Joshi, one of Mr Khan’s friends, said the intention was to raise awareness but he went the wrong way about it.

Mr Khan will now await the court’s verdict on Sunday.

Mental health and the Covid-19 pandemic

Many people have struggled with mental health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic where people have died, jobs have been lost and families have been kept apart.

While the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said the pandemic has not led to more people taking their own lives, it has placed emotional distress on younger Australians.

The JobKeeper program, increased JobSeeker supplement and labour market recovery were protective factors against suicide, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found.

An examination of coronial data across Victoria, NSW and Queensland did not show an increase in deaths by suicide during the pandemic.

"In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was widely speculated that there would be large rises in the number of deaths by suicide," the institute's deputy chief executive Matthew James told reporters.

"Luckily, these predictions have not come to pass."

Suicide deaths for most OECD countries had not risen during the pandemic, Mr James said.

About 3000 Australians die by suicide each year, an average of nine a day.

In 2019 there were 3318 such deaths, a rate of 12.9 per 100,000 people.

A deserted street in the central business district of Sydney, Australia.
A man walks through an empty Sydney CBD. Source: Getty Images

The institute said data from Victoria, NSW and Queensland coroners did not show an increase in suspected suicide deaths in 2020, or since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

In Victoria, 714 people died by suicide last year compared with 720 in 2019.

In NSW, 900 people died by suicide in 2020 compared with 943 the previous year.

However, there was a spike in the use of mental health services including crisis lines from the start of the pandemic.

Slightly more than 10 per cent of Australians used Medicare-subsidised mental health services in 2019-20, up from six per cent a decade prior.

Australian National University modelling showed a significant rise in the proportion of Australians experiencing severe or very severe psychological distress since 2017.

It's still higher, compared with pre-pandemic levels, for people aged up to 44, which is thought to be associated with job loss.

But psychological distress levels for Australians aged 45 and older had returned to pre-pandemic levels and in some cases was even lower.

Ambulance data showed the rate of attempted suicide fell slightly in Victoria last year after rising in 2019.

In NSW, the rate of attempts increased in 2020 but it was a smaller increase compared with the previous year.

"In other words, it's hard to see a very obvious Covid effect from that," Mr James said.

Women and girls take their own lives more often than men, particularly those between the ages of 15 and 19.

But men comprise three-quarters of suicide deaths, most frequently in their 40s and also from the age of 85.

with AAP

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