This article discusses teen suicide and may be distressing for some readers.
The Mental Health Foundation has launched a new tool to encourage parents to talk with their kids about suicide as season three of 13 Reasons Why is made available in New Zealand.
- Netflix axes 13 Reasons Why's graphic suicide scene two years on
- Study finds rise in teen suicides coincides with 13 Reasons Why release
Netflix's controversial teen drama, which features shocking rape scenes and is based around a central character's suicide, has caused concerns about the potentially negative impact on young viewers since it's debut in 2017.
Earlier this year, producers edited out the infamous graphic suicide scene featured in season one that prompted copycat fears and was linked to multiple deaths.
The streaming service cited advice from mental health professionals as the motivation for its eventual action.
Closer to home, Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said he hopes their new Connecting Through Kōrero resource will equip parents to guide their children through the sensitive subject matter.
"We knew young people were talking to each other about suicide, but those conversations weren’t necessarily as safe and supportive as they could be," Robinson said in a statement.
"We wanted to encourage adults to join the kōrero and talk with their young people about suicide and, critically, suicide prevention."
The statement from the MHF said overseas research had found links between the first two series and subsequent increases in youth suicide numbers.
"We know portrayals of suicide, violence and bullying focusing on youth can have a negative impact on vulnerable young people. It's vital caregivers are as well prepared as they can be to step in and offer support and a listening ear."
While some criticised the show for its handling of teen suicide, others hailed 13 Reasons Why as being a crucial component of bringing the taboo subject into the mainstream.
Netflix has made its own resources available to viewers on a website called 13ReasonsWhy.info, in an attempt to educate and help anyone struggling with the themes raised in the show.
The New Zealand Classification Office has given 13 Reasons Why an RP18 rating, meaning viewers under 18 must have a parent or guardian present while watching.
Where to find help and support:
Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans - 0800 726 666