This story makes reference to suicide, extreme violence, gambling and the exploitation of people in disadvantaged positions.

Youth-based mental health organisation ReachOut Australia has warned people to reconsider watching Netflix’s K-Drama Squid Game, in light of its triggering themes of suicide, extreme violence, and more.

In an Instagram post last night, the company explained that while the show has boomed in popularity, it’s worth being aware that some may find it “distressing”.

“We know a lot of people are talking about Squid Game,” ReachOut Australia wrote in an Instagram post. 

“Before you decide whether or not to watch, it’s good to be aware that some of the show’s themes could be distressing. The show includes things like suicide, extreme violence, exploitation of people in a disadvantaged position, and gambling or substance abuse.

“If you choose to watch the series and feel like you need support to process the themes shown, we’ve linked some info on how to deal with disturbing videos in our bio.”

One scene that’s particularly concerning if you do find references to suicide triggering is in episode 2, “Hell”, when Sang-Woo (Park Hae Soo) tries to kill himself.

When everyone leaves the games after the first match and goes back to their normal lives, they each learn that they’re in a place in their lives that they can’t go back to—and need that prize money to restart their lives.

For Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), that money could pay off the money he owes a local street gang, as well as pay off his mum’s hospital fees and support his ex-wife in raising their daughter.

For Sang-Woo, he goes back to his life of shame and hiding after embezzling millions from his workplace and own mother, and thinking that prison means accepting defeat, begins to have suicide ideation.

Fortunately, he stops himself when a Squid Game card slides under his door, but the scene is still extremely uncomfortable and maybe as triggering for some as Hannah Baker’s death in 13 Reasons Why. So, I think it’s important that ReachOut Australia has shared this message.

Yes, Squid Game is a good watch but it’s also an intense show with extremely triggering themes violently portrayed on screen. If you find it triggering, don’t feel pressured to watch it. Your mental health is worth so much more than a nine-hour series.


If you need mental health support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.
You can also reach the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or chat online.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000

Image: Netflix