'My little girl is a hero': Mom warns about dangers of online game after death of 15-year-old daughter

'My little girl is a hero': Mom warns about dangers of online game after death of 15-year-old daughter
Leslie Shoemake (L) says her daughter Mena Willis (R) struggled with depression for almost 3 years (WLBT/video screenshot)

Warning: Graphic content, readers’ discretion advised. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Online games are fun but there are some that are not only causing self-harm but claiming lives as well. The most recent victim of this was 15-year-old Mena Willis who was found dead in her high school’s bathroom on October 7. The teen discovered a game in Roblox where users pressured her into completing self-harming challenges, including cutting, hanging, and starving herself.

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Speaking to WLBT, Mena's elder sister, Leloni Willis said, "It was just a big shock. And just at one point, I just stopped and cried and cried. I couldn’t breathe." On the other hand, the mother, Leslie Shoemake said Mena struggled with depression for almost three years, but with help from the school, she was able to manage it. But then, she came across this self-harming game. "In this event if 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, and added that her daughter always tried protecting the family and kept her problems 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," the mother described.

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Talking further about Mena, Leloni 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." The mother said Mena’s death is bringing a positive change in the Choctaw Tribe as people are now talking more about mental health but at the same time, Leslie also wants to warn others to keep an eye out for signs.

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She wants to be a part of a solution to this horrifying issue and plans to open Mena’s Hope Foundation which will provide assistance and will offer support to those who are struggling with depression. She said, "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."

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