Paris Jackson has urged young people to think twice before watching 13 Reasons Why, saying as someone who once contemplated committing suicide, the Netflix show is ‘extremely triggering thing to watch’.
Taking to Instagram, the 19-year-old daughter of late music icon Michael Jackson wrote: “Please only watch this show with caution and keep in mind that it may put you in a dark place. if you are struggling please don’t watch it. if you think you can handle it, please by all means check it out”.
The television show follows the story of Hannah Baker and is told in the aftermath of her suicide, with the character leaving behind 13 cassette tapes sent to those she feels are “responsible” for her death.
Earlier in the week Netflix defended its talked-about teen drama 13 Reasons Why after being criticised for its graphic depiction of rape and self-harm.
While some mental health groups have raised concern that the series will lead to suicide contagion, Dr Rona Hu, a psychiatric consultant on the Netflix show, says the program provides the opportunity for taboo subjects to be discussed more openly between young people and their parents.
“It’s good to talk with your teens about what they read, what they watch, the music they listen to and, of course, what’s happening in their lives and with their friends,” she told news.com.au.
Dr Hu says she was one of the several mental health experts consulted during the production of the television show.
“As a psychiatrist I made suggestions to reflect the many experiences of young people that I have seen in my clinical work,” she said.
“There was a real desire to raise awareness, let suffering teens know they’re not alone, and help start honest conversations.”
Dr Hu’s comments come after the results of a recent Netflix survey reveals that 74% of Australian parents have watched a show their teen watches just to feel closer to them. And to add to that, the youngsters welcome it.
While 63% of parents think it’s tough to talk to teens, nearly all parents (94%) in Australia feel that watching their TV shows will give them more to talk about and 76% of teens agree, the survey reveals.
Meanwhile a Netflix spokesperson said in a recent statement: “From the onset of work on 13 Reasons Why, we have been mindful both of the show’s intense themes and the intended audience. We support the unflinching vision of the show’s creators, who engaged the careful advice of medical professionals in the scriptwriting process”.
Since the show was made available on Netflix in March, it has sparked strong debate about the final episodes, including the finale which graphically depicts Hannah’s suicide
Australian youth mental health organisation Headspace said it has received a growing number of calls and emails from parents and youths worried about the scenes.
“There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and a young audience in particular,” head of Headspace’s online counselling service, Dr Steven Leicester, said in a statement provided to Fairfax.
Meanwhile, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education executive director Dan Reidenberg said: “There is a great concern that I have … that young people are going to overidentify with Hannah in the series and we actually may see more suicides as a result of this television series.
“I’ve heard from others that are really concerned because its so sensational and so graphic that they’re worried about the copycat effect of suicide.”
The show features Australian actress Katherine Langford in the lead role, after Selena Gomez decided to maintain a behind-the-scenes involvement with the project as producer.
Selena has also defended the show in a recent “Beyond The Reasons” video, saying: “We wanted to do it in a way where it was honest, and we wanted to make something that can, hopefully, help people, because suicide should never, ever be an option”.
Producer Selena Gomez has defended the show, saying: “We wanted to do it in a way where it was honest, and we wanted to make something that can, hopefully, help people, because suicide should never, ever be an option”. Source: Getty