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Blue wail

By Nickunj Malik - Sep 06,2017 - Last updated at Sep 06,2017

Depression is a mental illness that is not taken as seriously as it should be, at least in my home country, India. When one of our highest paid Bollywood actresses confessed to suffering from this ailment, she was ridiculed by all and sundry. It was almost as if, with a successful career like hers, in addition to the enormous wealth and fan-following that she enjoyed, she had no right to feel melancholic. Thankfully, she took the help of medical practitioners and managed to overcome the disorder but there are millions of others, who continue to get neglected. 

We all have mood swings and every female of the species is familiar with it. But feeling irritable, sad or angry occasionally is very different from being in a continuous state of anxiety, unhappiness or emptiness that may lead to attempting or actually committing suicide.

Taking one’s own life or self-annihilation is what the latest Blue Whale Internet game is all about. It exist in several countries and allegedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a fifty day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to kill oneself. These daily tasks start off easy, such as listening to certain genres of music, waking up at odd hours, watching a horror movie, among others and then slowly escalate to carving out shapes on one’s skin, self-mutilation and eventually suicide.

It is still not clear how a participant plays the game. While some say the user has to install a particular application on their smart phone, others say it is via social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook that the administrators get in touch with the participant. 

Named after the whales that occasionally beach en masse and die, it originated in Russia in 2013 and supposedly was the cause of a suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin stated that his purpose was to “clean” the society by pushing to suicide those he deemed as having no value.

Right! So why my friends and family should be worried is because the rate of undetected depression, especially among teenagers, is high in our country and mental health is usually disregarded for years. Therefore India ranks among the top ten nations with a high, basal suicide rate and we have to be more vigilant than we normally are, especially when our children are between the gullible ages of ten and nineteen. 

What we can do to prevent it from happening is to look for signs and behavioural changes, especially when our progeny are on their smartphone, tablet or computer. Communication channels between them and us should always be kept open and their time online must be monitored. 

Keeping that in mind, I tried to question my nine-year-old nephew recently. I asked him to name the different kind of fish. 

“Shark, tuna, goldfish, salmon, mackerel, tilapia, trout,” he rattled off. 

“A group of them together is called a school of fish,” he informed me. 

“Have you heard of whales,” I queried. 

“They are huge marine mammals with a blubber of fat,” my nephew said. 

“What is the difference between veil and wail?” I changed the subject. 

“Sounds the same,” he responded. 

“One is a head covering,” I prompted him.

“The other means to cry aloud,” he cut in. 

“You know what the Blue Whale Challenge is?” he asked suddenly. 

 

“Tell me,” I invited. 

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Comments

Mental health is a concern of huge dimensions even in the western world. There is the stigma around it that prevents people from acknowledging their condition. I am sure the numbers in India are staggering. Early recognition and detection can prevent a humungust toll on suffering. Rural India still suffers in silence as a mental affliction is treated with seclusion & may be solitary confinement. You bring up a very important issue with a nice general wake up call

True Nickunj in our country the word depression is still a taboo. To spell it out means being socially ostracized. And regarding this game blue whale one has to read the newspaper to realize the enormity of the problem. Parents, teachers and also friends should be ever vigilant to note the changing behavioral patterns of each child - who may unknowingly be trapped. Where are we heading to?

Crazy stuff happening in the world! Very topical article this time! Parents need to be aware

You touch upon a very serious issue, especially relevant in these times of sequestered existences with sparse human contact. Minds are bound to get skewed and be vulnerable to be played with by unscrupulous people. We need to interact more by engaging in live conversations, something that eons of evolution makes man crave for.

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