Suicide in Our Own Backyard

Suicide in Our Own Backyard

Max Boland

Last week, the sixth suicide of a teenager between the ages of 14-18 happened within six months of the first. This phenomenon has struck Perry Township, about an hour south of Cleveland. Although the suicides appear not to be linked and the methods the kids used were varied, one can’t help but wonder ‘Why all of a sudden?’

Fifteen year old Freshman, Hayden Porter, took his life after bullies tormented him day in and day out. Porter’s father claims that the two spoke the day of his suicide, and Porter swore he was fine. The facts of what happened after are fuzzy, but we know for certain that Porter took his life that night. Perry Township is being plagued by depression and suicide, for what reason? Just an hour south of here, teens are giving up their lives and I intend to uncover why.

Police have found a shocking coincidence between the teens and it’s something called the Blue Whale Challenge. Fox 8 has acknowledged the Blue Whale Challenge as “not a factor” but clearly it is. In the past six months, there’s been a suicide for each month — three of which happened in a period of eleven days in January. This challenge was popular in 2016, three years after it was first created, and creator Philipp Budeikin was charged and imprisoned for the deaths of 16 teenagers. Although Budeikin was put away, that did not stop copycats in Morocco, Brazil, Italy, the United States, etc. The list goes on — the Blue Whale list that is.

So what is the Blue Whale Challenge, anyway? Teenagers are coerced in online chat rooms to perform a set list of increasingly dangerous tasks, by which suicide is the end. At first, this set of tasks appear to teens as attention and gives purpose, but at fin they wind up dead.

Although a sort of “suicide contagion” is common when one person in a small town decides to commit, the age range and time frame is somewhat of an anomaly. Perry Township is focused on suicide support and prevention, when they should be looking at their children’s computer activities.