Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Sh*t show' 13 Reasons Why is 'awful portrayal of mental health and suicide' - X Factor's Lucy Spraggan

Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why

Kerri-Ann Roper

Former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan has branded a Netflix series which tackles teenage suicide an "awful, awful portrayal of mental health and suicide".

The singer, who has spoken openly about battling depression, aired her views about the series 13 Reasons Why, on Twitter.

She wrote: "13 reasons why is an awful, awful portrayal of mental health and suicide Gutted young people are being told that's how it is."

The show, which is based on the hit novel of the same name by Jay Asher, is co-produced by singer Selena Gomez and her mother.

It tells the story of Hannah Baker, who ends her own life but appears throughout the show in flashbacks after her death, as she leaves 13 cassette tapes explaining the reasons she took her own life.

Spraggan continued: "Obsession, guilt and blame are parts of many people's mental health stories, but not positive parts. Promoting it is so odd."

Lucy Spraggan
Lucy Spraggan

She ended by writing: "Suicide and suicidle feelings aren't about other people, they are about you and your wellbeing. I'm ranting but meh. It's a shit show."

She later added: "Got so ranty I spelt 'suicidal' wrong. You know I'm feeling all passionate when I misspell things."

The Sheffield-born singer, who reached week five of the X Factor's live rounds in 2012, told ITV's Loose Women last year that she had thought about ending her own life at one point after battling online abuse.

She also released a single called Dear You, which she explained on Twitter was "about mental health", adding: "I hope you like it."

Australian actress Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah, told the Press Association in March it was important to her the show did not appear to glamorise suicide.

Her co-star Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay Jensen, a central character who also receives the box of tapes, said: "You care about Hannah so much and you're so heartbroken, I'm not worried at all about that (glamorising suicide). They found the perfect way to tell the story."

The on-demand streaming service has also posted informational videos on social media for anyone who may need help.

In one of the videos, Gomez explains: "We wanted to make something that could hopefully help people because suicide should never ever be an option."

The show's executive producer, Brian Yorkey, says: "If someone watching this is feeling like their life doesn't have worth, I hope that you see around Hannah in this show all the people who care about her and know that there are those people in your life as well."

Gomez adds at the end of the video that "there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you need help".

Her message is followed by a website URL which contains details of organisations around the globe that can provide help, listing the Samaritans in the UK.

Netflix declined to comment.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article please contact the Samaritans on 116123 for support or visit the website on www.samaritans.org.

Pieta House can be contacted on 1800 247 247.  For more information on Pieta House and its services visit www.pieta.ie.

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