Wor­ry­ing con­tent

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY -

Dear Ed­i­tor,

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.

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.

Both headspace School Sup­port and eheadspace are 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 rel­e­vant 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.

— Kris­ten Dou­glas Na­tional Man­ager headspace School Sup­port

SHARE YOUR VIEWS: Let­ters to the ed­i­tor can be emailed to ed­i­to­rial@south­bur­nett­times.com.au or mailed to PO Box 312, Kin­garoy, Qld, 4610. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing. Anony­mous let­ters will not be pub­lished.

PHOTO: BETH DUBBER/NET­FLIX

Dylan Min­nette in a scene from 13 Rea­sons Why.

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