Denver Public Schools responds to suicide ‘challenge’ circulating online

DENVER — There’s a new “challenge” circulating online that some are calling a suicide game.

The blue whale challenge reportedly involves completing a set of tasks over 50 days, culminating with the participant taking their own life.

The tasks might range from watching a horror movie to self-harming. The challenge is linked to the suicides of at least 16 teenage girls, according to the BBC.

Officials with Denver Public Schools said they are aware of the challenge but do not have any reported cases.

Officials said the district sent a letter to parents at one school about the existence of the challenge after the school requested it. Officials said any school in the district can use the letter to inform parents if they choose.

A 21-year-old Russian man, Philipp Budeikin, is thought to be one of the organizers of the “game” and is being held at a prison in St. Petersburg, Russia, the BBC reported.

Budeikin reportedly told Russian media his victims were “biological waste.”

Officials with Denver Public Schools said they take all information about suicide very seriously.

They said they are treating the situation like they did with the Netlfix series “13 Reasons Why.”

Helpful resources for parents and students:

  • Colorado Crisis and Support Line (844-493-8255, or text “Talk” to 38255)
  • National Suicide Hotline (800-273-8255
  • Safe2Tell (877-542-7233)
  • Trevor Project hotline for suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth (866-488-7386)

There are also talking points for parents available from the National Association of School Psychologists.