Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Studies across the world tell us that 50% of college students have thought of suicide, and 10% have actually made a plan for it. Recently we have all read about suicides in various campuses, or students taking their own life because they couldn’t get into the course of their choice, or the college of their choice. Most of us who feel desperate when the results come out, or think that our world is coming to an end and there is no point continuing with life, manage to pull out of the state of mind and carry on. Some do not.
When you have such a scenario, of desperate teenagers, vulnerable ones, who are crying for help - then most of us have the natural instinct to help them. Talk to them. Talk them out of the final step. But, the Blue Whale Challenge, a game that is supposed to exist on the internet, encourages teens to commit suicide.
The game, said to have been created by Philipp Budeikin, was accused of directly targeting children and encouraging them to harm themselves. The game was linked to the deaths of more than 100 young people around the world.
It is a highly secretive game, that invites participants who are vulnerable, and here is what we know about it.
- It originated in Russia in 2013, and by 2015 it had managed to get it’s first suicide.
- By 2016 - the suicides of 16 Russian teens had been linked to it.
- It is not an app
- It is not a website
- It includes 50 tasks to be completed, including self mutilation - students in China were ask to embroider their own hand
- Participants have to send the pictures of the completed activity to a curator or a “whale”.
- Many experts believe that the challenge is designed by people who want to brainwash students who are in emotional distress, and get them to commit suicide.
According to the site Heavy, these are some of the 50 tasks -
Listen to music the “curator” sends.Cut your lip.
Poke the person’s own arm/hand with a needle.
Make yourself hurt or sick.
Go to a roof and stand on the edge.
Stand on a bridge.
Climb a crane.
The last task is jumping off a building.
How does the curator approach you ? They find you, based on bizarre pics that you may have uploaded, often with hashtags that synch with those of the challenge.
How can you help your friends (and yourself) avoid this. Look out for warning signs. Participants
- becoming withdrawn from friends and family
- persistent low mood and unhappiness
- tearfulness and irritability
- worries that stop them from carrying out day to day tasks
- sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others
- loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy
- problems eating or sleeping
And tell an adult in authority - a teacher, a parent, an elder sibling, or even the cops. The game is created by devious minds with only one objective, to take life. Do your bit to stop it.