Dylan Minnette in a scene from the TV series 13 Reasons Why. Supplied by Netflix.
Dylan Minnette in a scene from the TV series 13 Reasons Why. Supplied by Netflix. Beth Dubber/Netflix

13 reasons why parents need to worry: letter

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

13 REASONS WHY IT'S DANGEROUS TO BE GRAPHIC ABOUT SUICIDE

I AM writing on behalf of headspace to address growing concerns raised by schools, parents and young people across Australia about some content featured in US Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

The series - which debuted in Australia in late March and is currently streaming on Netflix - depicts a young woman who suicides. It presents the viewer with very confronting and graphic messaging and imagery inclusive of suicide method and means.

Katherine Langford attends the LA premiere of
Katherine Langford attends the LA premiere of "13 Reasons Why" at Paramount Pictures Studio on Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) Richard Shotwell

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 has received a growing numbers of calls and emails directly related to the program.

The show exposes viewers to risky suicide content and may lead to a distressing reaction by the viewer particularly if the audience is children and young people.

National and international research clearly indicates the very real impact and risk to harmful suicide exposure, leading to increased risk and possible suicide contagion.

Clinicians working for eheadspace have 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.

headspace School Support and eheadspace 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 national suicide media initiative, Mindframe, also has significant concerns and warnings related to this content.

Please see the following links for helpful information for schools, mental health services, and parents if they are aware that children or young people have been exposed to the content and have expressed concerns around their own mental health, distress, or suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Managing social media following a suicide:

https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Corporate/Managing-social-media-following-a-suicide-web.pdf

Grief - How a young person might respond to a suicide:

https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Corporate/Grief-How-young-people-might-respond-to-a-suicide-web.pdf

How to talk about suicide with a young person:

https://headspace.org.au/assets/School-Support/How-to-talk-about-suicide-with-young-people.pdf

headspace has 99 centres across Australia, for details visit www.headspace.org.au.

If you are aged 12 to 25 and having a tough time, visit your local centre or contact eheadspace on 1800 650 890 or www.eheadspace.org.au.

Kristen Douglas,

National Manager headspace School Support.

More letters:

HORSE RACING DEATHS TRAGIC AND UNNECESSARY

HORSE racing's ever-growing bloodbath continues to shock and horrify even those who profit from it.

Last weekend, a jockey died and two others were seriously injured in a three-horse fall in Warialda in NSW, while in Sydney a race was abandoned when another fall saw the horse Almoonqith killed on the track in front of thousands of spectators after he broke a leg.

An average of over two horses per week die on Australian racetracks, usually with little fanfare.

Horses are raced too young and too hard and their bones are not up to the immense impact and stress.

They routinely suffer from injuries, lameness, and exhaustion. Horses are whipped and forced to run at break neck speeds. And to keep them running when they should be resting and recuperating, they may be given painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. All this leads to broken legs and death.

For those horses who manage to survive, few will be retired to grassy pastures. The vast majority of owners are unwilling to bear the costs of horses who aren't making them money. Unwanted horses typically are shipped to slaughter.

Any death on the racetrack is tragic and unnecessary.

Desmond Bellamy,

Special Projects Co-ordinator,

PETA Australia.

Gympie Times


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