Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is labelled “dangerous” by mental health organisation
Mental health organisation Headspace has criticised 13 Reasons Why, arguing “irresponsible reporting of suicide can lead to further death”.
The new series has been a hit with Netflix viewers since its release, but the way in which the show depicts suicide and depression has been labelled as harmful by certain mental health professionals.
13 Reasons Why has been praised by viewers for its raw, emotional and unapologetic portrayal of teen suicide and the drama certainly includes some difficult-to-watch moments, including the clip of Hannah slitting her wrists in a bathtub during the show’s final moments.
However, Headspace has argued that the readily available Netflix content is “risky” and potentially “distressing” for certain viewers.
Headspace boss Dr. Steven Leicester explained: “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.”
National manager of Headspace school support Kristen Douglas also described how “harmful suicide exposure” can result in “increased risk and possible suicide contagion”.
“It’s not like car crashes or cancer. Irresponsible reporting of suicide can lead to further death,” she told Huffington Post Australia.
“We need to talk more about youth suicide, but there’s a way of doing that and a way we can raise those concerns and have a range of awareness.
“But we need to steer clear of really dangerous things like method, or oversimplifying it to one thing like bullying.”
Show creator Brian Yorkey previously defended the show’s concluding suicide scene. He said: “We worked very hard not to be gratuitous but we did want it to be painful to watch, because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide.”
Book author Jay Asher also defended the series: “They felt for a TV show, if you’re going to watch it, you want to show it as horrific as it actually is.
“So the way she does it, you can’t watch it and feel like it’s glamourised in any way. It looks and is painful, and then when she’s found by her parents, it absolutely destroys them.”
13 Reasons Why is available to watch on Netflix.