Headspace Warns ‘To The Bone’ Could Be A “How To Guide” For At-Risk Folks

WARNING: This article discusses eating disorders.

Since Netflix first dropped the trailer for its upcoming film ‘To The Bone‘, which follows the journey of a 20-year-old girl with anorexia nervosa (Lily Collins), concerns have been raised by those experiencing eating disorders that it could potentially be triggering.

Now, mental health organisation Headspace has added its name to that list, issuing a warning that the film could potentially act as a “how to guide” for those at risk of developing the disease.

“The concern is about portrayal of behaviours associated with an eating disorder – and whether this may be providing a ‘how to’ guide to adolescents who may be at risk,” said CEO Jason Threthowan.

“We don’t want any representation or discussion in the media, on TV, or anywhere else, that has the potential to place young people at risk.”

It’s not the only one to address this concern. While some former and current sufferers praised the movie for shining a light on the disease (and showing that there is, in fact, a happy ending for those who deal with it), one Twitter user @bwaybabytay expressed concerns that it would do exactly that.

After the trailer prompted some very strong reactions – both positive and negative, FWIW – writer and director Marti Noxon took to Twitter to alleviate some of the concerns. 

“Having struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia well into my 20s, I know firsthand the struggle, isolation and shame a person feels when they are in the grips of this illness,”
Noxon said on Twitter. “In an effort to tell this story as responsibly as we could, we spoke with other survivors and worked with Project Heal throughout production in the hopes of being truthful in a way that wasn’t exploitative.”

And The Butterfly Foundation said earlier this year that the film, like any about eating disorders, has the potential to “raise awareness, dispel myths and educate the wider community”, but implored the media to report on it responsibly.

“The Butterfly Foundation acknowledge that any film or media production that aims to explore the challenges and triumphs faced when experiencing an eating disorder, has the potential to raise awareness, dispel myths and educate the wider community. However, content shown and specific references made can be potentially triggering for viewers at risk of, or currently experiencing an eating disorder. Due to this, Butterfly encourages the media to refer to the Mindframe Guidelines and to include trigger warnings and relevant helplines for support. ”

‘To The Bone’ arrives on Netflix on July 14.

Photo: Netflix.

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns, you can call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (ED HOPE) or email support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.