Paris Jackson has taken to Instagram to voice her concerns around the popular Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why, describing the drama as "an extremely triggering thing to watch".
The 18-year-old, who was hospitalised in 2013 after a suicide attempt, shared that the series had left her with mixed feelings.
"This show was an amazing way to get the message across to bullies that they need to stop doing what they are doing," she wrote. "It really did a good job of showing how impactful words and actions can be to other human beings. You can't just do or say things to people without thinking about how it will affect them."
At the same time, however, Jackson believes the show needs to be watched "with caution".
"Keep in mind that it may put you in a dark place," she writes. "If you are struggling please don't watch it. If you think you can handle it, please by all means check it out."
Jackson's concern has been shared by a number of mental health and suicide prevention professionals, both in Australia and overseas.
Australian youth mental health foundation headspace issued a warning about the graphic series and the potential risks it poses "to the wellbeing of young people". In a statement on their website, the organisation advised:
As many young people are currently watching the series, it is important that teachers and parents are aware of the risks associated with the content, and are prepared to discuss these with young people who have been exposed to it in a way that:
- avoids normalising or glamorising suicide
- supports young people to manage their emotional responses to the show
- empowers young people to seek appropriate information and support for their difficulties, where necessary.
In the US, the National Association for School Psychologists also issued a caution about the series in a statement.
"We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series," they wrote. "Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticise the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies. They may easily identify with the experiences portrayed and recognise both the intentional and unintentional effects on the central character. Unfortunately, adult characters in the show, including the second school counsellor who inadequately addresses Hannah's pleas for help, do not inspire a sense of trust or ability to help."
Censors in New Zealand also recently created a new rating for 13 Reasons Why, RP18, recommending those under 18 only watch the show with parental guidance.
"[Kids] have to see something that's going to shake them," Gomez said. "They have to see something that's frightening and follow these people. I want them to understand it ... I was a mess just seeing it all come to life because I've experienced just that for sure."
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