‘13 Reasons Why‘ is fast shaping up to be one of the most popular Netflix originals of all time.
If you’re not down with the Hip Teen Happenings of 2017, the show is about a high school girl, Hannah, who dies by suicide and leaves 13 audio cassette tapes for various classmates to find; each one explaining how they were partially responsible.
Yep, it’s fairly grim. So grim that therapy dogs were present on set for the actors because of the intense and emotional content of the series.
While a large majority of people are going berserk for the show (with many pleased to see the tough topics of bullying and sexual assault being played out in a teen drama) some critics are wary of the sensational treatment of teen suicide.
Since its debut, both the national Headspace School Support program, which supports school communities in the aftermath of a suicide, and eHeadspace, the national online and over-the-phone counselling service, have received a growing numbers of calls and emails directly related to the program.
Today they’ve issued a statement detailing the growing concerns raised by schools, parents and young people across ‘Straya about the content of the show.
“National and international research clearly indicates the very real impact and risk to harmful suicide exposure leading to increased risk and possible suicide contagion,” National manager of Headspace School Support, Kristen Douglas, said.
Head of eHeadspace Dr Steven Leicester said clinicians working for the service had been dealing with a steady stream of concerned parents and young people since the show first aired.
“There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and on a young audience in particular,” he said.
The foundation is urging school communities, parents, and mental health services to be aware of the dangers and risks associated for children and young people who have been exposed to this content.
The media do have special guidelines to abide by when reporting on, or depicting, suicide. While the show is obviously fictional, it does romanticise suicide. For some teens who are having a rough one, a show like 13 Reasons could realistically be a catalyst for copycat suicide.
It’s important to consider how shows like these affect the younger mates among us. If you know anyone you reckon is having a hard time, there’s no harm in reaching out for a chat or a coffee at your local.
Photo: 13 Reasons Why.
If you, or someone you know, is going through a hard time, support is always available. headspace have some great resources on grief management like this, this and this. If you need support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14. To reach SANE, a national charity helping Aussies affected by mental illness lead a better life, call their helpline on 1800 187 263. If you’re in an emergency situation, call 000.