CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses suicide. Help is available. If you require immediate assistance, please call 000. If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 44 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.

Comedian Rosie Waterland has alleged that the ABC was “not great at supporting” her in the wake of an Australian Story episode which detailed her childhood trauma and suicide attempt.

In a Twitter thread, Waterland recounted her experience during and after filming of the episode.

“I had an Australian Story producer tell me that I needed to re-enact the night I attempted suicide for the cameras,” she wrote. “When I said that made me uncomfortable, I was told that I ‘didn’t understand visual storytelling’.”

The 30-second sequence was a dramatisation of her non-fatal attempt. The ABC has confirmed that these shots showed an actor’s hands and not Waterland’s.

Waterland claims that the “bizarre tabloid way of filming” was traumatising. She says she ended up in a psychiatric hospital after filming.

“No media platform is flawless,” Waterland wrote. “I handed my story over to the most trusted media platform in the country, and they took advantage and ignored their duty of care.”

She says she was also unsatisfied with the broadcaster’s response to her complaints both during the production of the episode and in the weeks after it aired.

The ABC says it is “deeply concerned” with Waterland’s experience.

“We have taken her concerns extremely seriously from the beginning and extensively discussed with her the issues she has raised – dating back to when filming of this episode was still underway and continuing to this day,” a spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

“We know that special care is needed with people who have experienced severe trauma. We have acknowledged to Ms Waterland that mistakes were made, and we have apologised for where we weren’t sensitive enough.”

“During filming we repeatedly checked with Ms Waterland whether she even wanted to continue making the episode, which she did. We also offered a read-through of the final script. Subsequently we have offered to take down the episode from iview and look at the possibility of making edits to it with Ms Waterland’s input, which she has declined to do.”

The broadcaster has advised that it now provides interviewees access to a trauma counsellor and has further trained its team in dealing with traumatised people.

Waterland was prompted to share her story after watching Monday’s 4 Corners episode investigating alleged coverups of child sexual abuse at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne.

Last week, former Triple J presenter Gen Fricker also slammed with ABC with allegations that its management did not adequately deal with an alleged assault by a listener who trespassed in the studio.

Waterland argues that her and Fricker’s experiences are examples of a wider trend of ignoring women who speak out. “They have tried to explain us away. But they should listen to us,” she wrote.

She hopes to spark conversation about how the media deals with survivors of trauma while still acknowledging the importance of its work. This experience will be one of the subjects of her upcoming live show, Kid Chameleon.

“We need to make sure we appreciate the brilliant things ABC can do, but also be open to understanding that they can really, badly, mess up.”

Image: Instagram / @rosiewaterland