Mother warns parents of online game that led to the death of her 15-year-old daughter
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With hundreds of online platforms just a click away and easily accessible, victims of peer pressure and online bullying are getting younger and younger.
Its most recent victim was 15-year-old Mena Willis - a teenage girl who took her own life in her high school’s bathroom on October 7.
“It was just a big shock. And just at one point, I just stopped and cried and cried. I couldn’t breathe,” said the older sister of Mena, Leloni Willis.
Mena’s mother, Leslie Shoemake, says her daughter struggled with depression for almost 3 years - but with help from the school, Mena was able to manage it.
Then one day, everything changed when Mena came across a game inside Roblox where users pressured her into completing self-harming challenges, including cutting, hanging, and starving herself.
“In this event that the children refuse to complete the self-harming task the game on Roblox states that they will then harm the children’s family members,” Leslie said.
Leslie says her daughter was always trying to be a protector and often the listening ear for her family, and as a result, kept her troubles to herself.
“She will come and talk to us, though. Like everything’s gonna be okay. And you just gotta you know, just give us encouragement,” Leslie said.
“At the same time she was battling in all problems, she was trying to be the little big sister to all of us. The more mature one, the one who understands,” Leloni said.
Now, Leslie says Mena’s death is stirring change in the Choctaw Tribe as mental health is being spoken about more as she seeks to send a warning to others.
“I hope that this is the start that they can start showing each other more how much love this is in. My little girl is the hero and I’m very proud of her,” she said.
Leslie hopes she can be part of the solution and plans on creating the Mena’s Hope Foundation which will offer support to those who struggle with depression.
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