The Australian Christian Lobby’s Centre for Human Dignity questions why Netflix continues to ignore advice from suicide prevention organisations and mental health experts with the announcement it will run a third season of 13 Reasons Why.
Centre for Human Dignity director Wendy Francis said the series, run by the online streaming service, features teen suicide, bullying, drunk driving and rape in graphic detail. It has been criticised by mental health experts who believe it poses health risks for vulnerable young people, especially those with suicidal thoughts.
Australia has some of the highest suicide rates in the world.
“It has correctly been described by suicide prevention researcher, Gerry Georgatos, as a humanitarian crisis,” Mrs Francis said.
The Federal Government-funded Youth Mental Health Foundation, ‘headspace’, recently issued a warning in regards to content featured in “13 Reasons Why”.
Head of eheadspace, Dr Steven Leicester, said, “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.”
Australia’s national suicide media initiative, Mindframe, also has significant concerns and warnings related to the content.
“The message of “13 Reasons Why” has romanticised teen suicide as well as marketing graphic sexual content to children,” Mrs Francis said.
“The Centre for Human Dignity is concerned about the dangerous messages in this series, which is targeted to young teenagers.
“Our concern is backed up by the reports of children who took their own lives after watching it as well as the spike in the Google search, “how to kill myself” following on from the first season.
“The Centre for Human Dignity is calling on the Australian Classification Board to do an urgent audit of the MA15+ classification of “13 Reasons Why” with a view of giving the series an R-rating so that young teenagers and kids can be protected from this terrible show.