News

2017.03.29 08:53

Blue Whale game complicates Lithuania’s fight against suicides

Algirdas Acus 2017.03.29 08:53

Vilnius Santariškės children’s hospital alone last year had to treat about fifty children who tried to commit a suicide or self-harm. This year could be worse as Lithuanian police counts there can be around 100 children in capital Vilnius who do get involved in Blue Whale suicidal game.  

‘There was a case in Alytus, where a girl was removed from the bridge as if she wanted to jump from that bridge claiming she wanted to accomplish the task’ said Ramūnas Matonis, pressman at Lithuanian police.

‘Blue Whale’ is a trend of closed groups on social media that started in Russia and now is spreading across the world. It is a suicide game where participants start by accomplishing certain tasks related to self-harm and in the end must commit suicide thereby winning the game.’

‘Drawings such as butterflies or whales can be found not only on textbooks, but on child’s body as well, usually on arms’, said Irina Blažienė, psychologist at Vilnius City psychological-pedagogical agency that encountered cases like these.

Lithuanian police says it has recently started 5 pre-trial proceedings related to incitement to commit suicide. Fortunately, so far there are no deaths recorded that could be linked to the Blue Whale.

But the game certainly could complicate things for those who work in suicidal prevention such as volunteers in non-governmental organization Child Line. They provide anonymous physiological help to children by phone 116111 and on-line.

‘Overall, twits are the most frequent topic if we count those who seek help by phone, we get a phone call about twits almost every day’, said consultant at Child Line Rytis Rakauskas indirectly indicating he has not yet encountered those who seek help escaping from Blue Whale game.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė visited Child Line recently and urged society to contribute to its activity claiming she has designated Child Line 2 percent of her income tax. Lithuanians can choose to designate 2 percent of their income tax to a certain non-governmental organization.

Last year, president Grybauskaitė initiated a social initiative called ‘For Safe Lithuania’, which seeks to fight suicides.

World Health Organization listed Lithuania 4th in the world and 1st in Europe with 28.2 suicides per 100 000 residents per year. Lithuanian Mental Health Centre statistics projected the rate in 2016 as 29.1.
 

Shotlist
Note that shots and sound bites are not from today, but recent

Shots of Santariškės children’s hospital in Vilnius

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

IRINA BLAŽIENĖ, psychologist at Vilnius city psychological-pedagogical agency:

Drawings such as butterflies or whales can be found not only on textbooks, but on child’s body as well, usually on arms.

Shots of journalist looking at stories about Blue Whale on PC

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

RAMŪNAS MATONIS, Pressman of Lithuanian Police:

There was a case in Alytus, where a girl was removed from the bridge as if she wanted to jump from that bridge claiming she wanted to accomplish the task. Police officers promptly reacted and took her away from that bridge.

Volunteers at ’Child Line’ providing anonymous help to children by phone and on-line

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

RYTIS RAKAUSKAS, Consultant at Child Line:

Overall, twits are the most frequent topic if we count those who seek help by phone. We get a phone call about twits almost every day, during each shift.

Cutaway

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

RYTIS RAKAUSKAS, Consultant at Child Line:

There are cases when children did contact teachers and nothing changed. Then we have an opportunity to reach other agency, which can take actions such as visiting the school, finding out about the situation and changing it.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė meets volunteers at ‘Child Line’

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania: