Teenage ballerina's suicide blamed on 'toxic digital world'

Jan 23, 2014

Tallulah Wilson, 15, was obsessed with blogs where young people share images of self-inflicted injuries

THE MOTHER of a teenager who threw herself under a train at St Pancras Station has condemned the "toxic digital world" that contributed to her death. 

Tallulah Wilson, 15, a "talented young dancer" head-hunted by the Royal Ballet School, killed herself after becoming obsessed with blogs promoting self-harm. Her mother Sarah urged companies to withdraw advertising from sites that "continue to host inappropriate self-harming and suicide-promoting blogs" to "stop this poison spreading".

A jury at St Pancras Coroner's Court yesterday delivered a narrative verdict in her inquest, concluding that Tallulah took her own life on 14 October 2012. It also found that the micro-blogging site Tumblr was both a comfort to her and the source of inappropriate images of self-harm.

The Times says Tallulah, who was diagnosed with severe clinical depression, sank beyond help into an online world where youngsters encourage each other to share explicit images of their own self-inflicted injuries.

Her mother said she had been unable to prevent her daughter from becoming increasingly withdrawn at home and at school, as she developed a fantasy cocaine-taking persona online.

"Her sisters and I did everything we could to keep her safe, but she had fallen into a world of nightmares. She was in the clutches of a toxic digital world where in the final few weeks we could no longer reach her," she said.

"I was shocked by the ease with which Tallulah and other children can access online self-harm and suicide blogs. Tallulah entered a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became blurred. It is every parent's worst nightmare."

The NHS trust that cared for Tallulah called for "national leadership" and more investigation of the links between young people's online lives and mental health.

Tumblr said that issues of depression and self-harm are "extremely challenging, particularly in online environments that encourage self-expression". It added that it has policies to address "the most harmful of this content, and we have systems in place to direct users to appropriate resources for getting whatever help they may need".

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well - if ever there was a sign that we as a society f****d up big style this is it - good god - how can this happen. and frankly what good do i do now saying this?