School’s response to teen show
Controversial teen suicide show 13 Reasons Why has triggered an Auckland school to write to students’ parents about mental health support services.
The show has also triggered a small number of calls from New Zealand teenagers to youth support service Youthline.
13 Reasons Why, which was released in New Zealand on March 31 with an adult rating, is a 13-part Netflix US drama series about a teenage girl who commits suicide.
Epsom private school St Cuthbert’s College’s deputy principal Justine Mahon said she was against the series and wrote to students’ parents to provide assurance the school offered support to students relating to mental health issues.
‘‘We think the series’ messages are irresponsible - it presented suicide as inevitable and that is a completely wrong message to send,’’ Mohan said.
Epsom mother of two Kristen Slade said she did not want her children exposed to the series.
‘‘I prefer to discuss these issues openly with my children on my own terms,’’ Slade said.
Youthline received six logged calls from people specifically relating to 13 Reasons Why out of about 12,700 calls and texts in March and 13,000 in April.
The cases included concern for a friend who expressed suicidal thoughts after watching the show, feelings of vulnerability and shock, and parents calling the helpline out of concern.
Youthline spokeswoman Briana Hill said Youthline experienced a slight increase in contact numbers in March and April.
‘‘This isn’t inconsistent with previous years - we note that school starts up in these months as well and a lot of anxiety and other issues can come up as a result,’’ Hill said.
There had been a lot of young people who expressed appreciation for the show because it generated conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, Hill said. Friends and family should have ‘‘courageous conversations’’, Hill said.
Whether people were going through a tough time themselves, or were worried about someone else, talking about it was important, Hill said.
‘‘We exist in the real world where tragic things happen, it is our response to one another in the face of tragic circumstances and difficult times that is so important.’’
St Cuthbert’s College deputy principal Justine Mahon says the show 13 Reasons Why is ‘‘irresponsible’’.