Fortis Healthcare on Thursday launched a 24×7 helpline to provide psychological support to teenagers increasingly getting trapped in the macabre online game Blue Whale Challenge.
The helpline — 8376804102 — is available for anyone who is directly undergoing undue mental stress and anxiety as a participant in the challenge.
The Blue Whale Challenge, reportedly created by a former convict in Russia, is said to psychologically provoke players to indulge in daring, self-destructive tasks for 50 days before finally taking the “winning” step of killing themselves — and each task must be filmed and shared as “proof”.
The helpline is also available for family members who notice sudden negative behavioural changes among the young in the family.
“We have been receiving calls both from teenagers as well as concerned parents. This helpline is geared towards intervening in times of crises as well as imparting psycho-education to help individuals and families cope with the situation,” Samir Parikh, Director, (Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences) at Fortis Healthcare, said in a statement on Thursday.
The helpline offers to be medium through which people can freely open up to trained mental health care professionals and avail immediate help.
According to media reports, over six cases across India have been suspected to be linked to the deadly game.
While taking measures to curb the deadly game, the government recently directed internet majors — Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo — to erase links pertaining to the Blue Whale Challenge.
“Instances of children committing suicide while Blue Whale Challenge have been reported in India… You are hereby requested to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from your platform,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated.