uk: Suicide: a teen's way to instant fame
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 29/01/2008 04:34
As Bridgend tries to understand why it has a cluster of seven teenage suicides, our correspondent finds bored or desperate youths may see death as the only thrill left
Suicide is far from painless, both for the people who do it and for the ones they leave behind. The cluster of seven suicides in Bridgend, south Wales, has left scores of grieving relatives and friends and the rest of us stunned at the thought that these young people - some pictured partying just days earlier - could take their own lives.
Disturbingly, the town's teenage population seem less surprised by the tragic events. Below a steady drizzle, a group of teenagers outside a Bridgend off-licence discuss their dead friend Natasha Randall, the most recent in the series of suicides to have afflicted the town and the only girl. Their rationale is shocking.
"Perhaps she just got bored," says Aaron, a 17-year-old in a hooded top and trainers. "It's depressing living here. There's nothing to do and we'll never get decent jobs. The best I can hope for is to carry on stacking shelves at Tesco."
Suicide 'axis' crosses Welsh valleys
Coroner calls for national strategy as police hunt for connections between 13 Bridgend deaths
Bridgend, the south Wales town thrust into the spotlight after 13 of its young people killed themselves in the past year, is part of a Welsh valleys axis with higher than average levels of suicide, particularly among young men, it has emerged.
Statistics show that Merthyr Tydfil and the Rhondda, Cynon and Taff valleys are also battling with a problem that has, so far, defeated experts. And as police review the spate of recent deaths in Bridgend, The Observer can reveal that far from being an isolated pocket, the rash of suicides has been a concern in the area for some time.
Bridgend deaths: Police warn of Bebo 'internet suicide cult'
One small Welsh town has seen 13 of its young people die in a year
For millions of teenage fans, the internet site Bebo is a place to swap photos, gossip and while away the long hours of boredom that are part and parcel of growing up. But for a significant minority, the social networking site is more, much more.
A small town in south Wales has unwittingly found itself at the epicentre of what police fear could be an internet suicide cult. Senior detectives are investigating 13 young suicides during the past year in the Bridgend area, including the most recent: that of Natasha Randall, 17, who was found hanged at her family home 10 days ago. Two friends are still recovering, after trying to take their own lives within 24 hours of hearing about her.