Doomsday talk turns humourous on Twitter

Do a quick search on social media sites, and the number of times the words “end” and “world” come up might surprise you.

According to an Ipsos Reid international survey, almost 10 per cent of Canadians believe the world is going to end when the Mayan calendar concludes—which some say occurs on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012—despite reassurances from scientists around the globe that doomsday is not near.

But not all teens are convinced that Dec. 22 will come like any other day.

An article in last week’s Rview, The Richmond Review’s youth edition, quoted one teen who was planning destructive behaviour for the eve of Dec. 21, and another who said a friend was planning to overdose on drugs.

Donna Sargent, chair of the Richmond Board of Education, said Richmond school principals are keeping a watchful eye for teens who begin to “exhibit different behaviour than normal” this week.

She said that the school district always encourages students who are worried that peers, friends or family may do something rash, seek out a parent, teacher or administrator for help.

Lisa Westermark, CHIMO’s executive director, said if locals have concerns, and are aware of a friend or family member considering suicide or destructive behaviour, they should call the local crisis line at 604-279-7070.

Things to look out for are if a person has made a threat, revealed a desire to die, have made sudden changes in their behaviours, or made statements that they feel worthless, depressed, numb, helpless and hopeless.

Westermark said it’s a myth that talking about suicide will plant that seed in someone’s mind.

“It’s good to talk about it and be open about it,” she said. “By having an open dialogue, you give voice to a concern, and you allow people to talk about how they’re feeling.”

Much of the buzz on Twitter is of a light-hearted nature, with many proclaiming that Tuesday’s snowfall was a sign of the “end of the world.”

Others added their own humorous spin.

Steve McGowan (@TheSteveMcGowan): “If zombies take over the world on Dec 21st, I still wanna see the rest of #thewalkingdead season. That’s all I ask.”

Said Alan Bailward (@AlanBailward): “Since the world is ending in only a few days, you’ll want some great tips on How to photograph the Apocalypse...”

And Daniel Doucette (@danthedouce): “Wait, the world is ending in 3 days? Did I miss something?”

Richmond RCMP Cpl. Sherrdean Turley said residents should take the doomsday talk with a grain of salt.

“There is nothing concrete scientifically or otherwise to indicate we are facing the end of civilization as we know it. People should not be considering taking drastic measures to avoid Dec. 21 or the days after.”

If you know of someone planning on doing anything to harm themselves or others, contact the Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212 or the provincial crisis centre at 604-872-3311.

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