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The Instagram suicide network

A teenager’s phone helped uncover a vast network of young women who use Instagram to post about self-harm, their thoughts about killing themselves and even their suicide attempts.

Andrine was 17 years old when she killed herself in March 2017.

For two years her mother left Andrine’s phone untouched in a cardboard box by her front door.

But when a journalist from the Norwegian broadcaster NRK approached her Andrine’s mother plucked up the courage to take a look.

The information from Andrine’s phone uncovered a secretive international network of young women and girls who share pictures of self-harm, thoughts about killing themselves and even their suicidal attempts.

Many of those in the network have eating disorders, depression or other mental health problems. They don’t trust healthcare workers or doctors, and they communicate using private Instagram accounts.

The investigation by NRK has identified at least 15 young women and girls in the network who have taken their own lives in the last three years.

So what responsibility does social media – and Instagram in particular - bear for the deaths?

If you are affected by the issues in this programme you can find information about support organisations on the Befrienders Worldwide website. https://www.befrienders.org/

Presenter: Catrin Nye
Producer: Ed Main

(Photo: A close-up of Andrine pinned on a noticeboard. Credit: BBC)

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24 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Nov 2019 22:32GMT

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