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Omaha gamer saves life of long-distance friend experiencing mental health crisis

OMAHA, Nebraska – A player of Omaha is credited for maybe saving the life of a long-distance acquaintance who was undergoing a mental health crisis.

Nathan Baker, a 16-year-old sophomore at Millard West, spends his leisure time playing video games with his pals. Baker has cultivated a nationwide network of internet buddies through gaming.

John is one of these buddies; 6 News is adopting a fictitious name to protect John’s identity.

Baker states, “I met him approximately a year and a half ago.” We’ve never met in person, yet we’re still great friends because of our online friendship.

Along with numerous other buddies, the pair converses practically everyday.

Baker claims that John suffered through a breakup and struggled to deal few weeks ago. Baker saw a change in John’s conduct and reports that he started posting ‘cryptic’ statements on his social media platforms.

“It moved from being a joke to being really serious, and I became concerned for him,” says Baker.

“I told him that if he ever needed someone to talk to, I’d prefer he wake me up at 3 a.m. and talk to me than harm himself.”

Baker claims that John did not reply to him over the weekend. Baker sought guidance from his father, Chris, because he was worried about John’s life. The family decided to contact the police in Dallas, where John claimed to be visiting relatives.

Baker claims he was able to pinpoint John’s exact position because they are Snapchat pals.

“They dispatched an officer, and while I was on the phone with the dispatcher, I made sure they knew where he was and provided an exact description of his location, appearance, and the situation,” recalls Baker.

After hanging up the phone, Baker had the most tense 45 minutes of his life. But he finally received a call back.

“When I received that phone call and learned that he was safe, it was a tremendous weight off my shoulders,” says Baker.

John gained access to the necessary resources as a result of Baker’s efforts. John’s family reached out to Baker to express gratitude for drawing their attention to the matter.

Sadie Hinkle of The Kim Foundation, an Omaha-based non-profit that focuses on mental health crisis education and suicide prevention, explains, “It’s extremely difficult to come forward in person, so people frequently turn to social media.”

Hinkle asserts that Baker took every correct action.

Hinkle adds, “It can be incredibly unpleasant and uncomfortable to talk to a loved one about what they’re going through, but we encourage everyone to push past that awkwardness, take it, and embrace it, because that person’s life is ultimately more important.”

Baker asserts that John was appreciative of the actions he performed, but even if that were not the case, he asserts that it would still be a victory.

“I would rather have someone angry with me than none at all.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis or at risk, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 273-8255.

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