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Headspace Responds To ’13 Reasons Why’

They have issued a suicide warning

Netflix’s controversial new teen drama 13 Reasons Why has been slammed by youth mental health organisation Headspace.

The show, focuses on 17-year-old Hannah Baker from Liberty High School, who commits suicide seemingly out of the blue. She leaves behind a series of 13 cassette tapes, each addressing 13 people whose actions contributed to her choice to take her own life, and she sends the tapes to them for reflection.

The series has come under fire over its sensitive themes and graphic rape and suicide scenes, however has been praised for tackling important issues like bullying, the reasons why someone so young could be capable of suicide, and what others can be doing to prevent things from getting to that point. 

Headspace has released a warning about the show in response to a growing number of calls, emails and complaints about it. They claim that it presents the viewer with ‘graphic and confronting imagery inclusive of suicide method and means’.

Kristen Douglas, National Manager of headspace School Support said 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.”

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Head of eheadspace Dr Steven Leicester said that the show creators should have taken more responsibility.

“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,” he said.

They provided a useful collection of links providing parents and young people with support related to issues the show may have brought up.

Selena Gomez has previously spoken about the difficult content in the show, hoping that it will cause people to think about their actions.

“[The project] hit a very important part of me,” she said on a panel to journalists in February. “We’re not going to post things like be empowered because that’s not what they want to see. Unfortunately, kids don’t care.

“They have to see something that’s going to shake them. They have to see something that’s frightening and follow these people. I want them to understand it.

“I would do anything to be able to have a good influence on this generation and it’s hard but I definitely relate to everything that was going on and I was there for the last episode and I was a mess just seeing it all come to life because I’ve experience just that for sure.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Headspace on 1800 650 890.

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