A girl who took her own life after watching 13 Reasons Why left a list of six reasons for killing herself.
Tragic Jessica Scatterson, who died aged 12, had told her mum she had been watching the Netflix drama, about a teenager who commits suicide after making 13 recordings explaining her decision.
Jessica’s mum Rachael Warburton, 33, said: “Jessica was watching this show with her friends and listed six reasons why she wanted to die.”
The care support worker from Leigh, Greater Manchester, added: “It should be banned, because my daughter watched it and it gives children the idea to self-harm.
“Its intentions are to raise suicide awareness but I believe it encourages young people to commit suicide. All Jessica’s friends were messaging each other discussing the series. Parents should be warned not to let their children watch it.”
The inquest into Jessica’s death heard she and her friends had self-harmed. A small blade from a pencil sharpener was found in her room and she had superficial cuts to her leg, some in the shape of lettering.
Jessica’s pals called police after she posted a snap of her foot with “RIP” on it, the hearing was told. Officers went to her home in Warrington, Cheshire, where she lived with dad Christopher Scatterson, 41.
He found her hanged in her bedroom, just two days before her 13th birthday.
Notes were found that referred to suicide, plus the name of an alleged bully and a drawing of someone being hanged.
Coroner Alan Moore said Jessica felt “emotionally overwhelmed” when she took her own life in April 2017.
13 Reasons Why first aired in March 2017, three weeks before Jessica died. It got a 15 age rating from the British Board of Film Classification, apart from four episodes given an 18 rating. One of those was the first series finale in which lead character Hannah Barker kills herself.
Jessica’s mum Rachael wants stricter parental controls on Netflix accounts to stop kids watching unsuitable shows.
She said: “I don’t want another parent to go through what we have. I urge everyone to keep a closer eye on what children are watching online.”
Suicides among youngsters in the US rose by 28.9% in April 2017, the month after the show premiered, a study found last week. More Americans aged 10 to 17 took their own lives that month than in any other month in a five-year period.
And there were 195 more suicides than expected, based on historical trends, in the nine months after the release, according to the report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Researchers said they could not make a direct causal link with the series.
But study co-author Lisa Horowitz, of the National Institute of Mental Health, said: “[This] should raise awareness that young people are particularly vulnerable to the media.
“All disciplines, including the media, need to take good care to be constructive and thoughtful about topics that intersect with public health crises.”
Study lead author Jeff Bridge said: “The creators of the series intentionally portrayed the suicide of the main character. It was a very graphic depiction of the suicide death.”
In a study last year of 87 teenagers admitted to psychiatric care, half those who had seen the show said they believed it increased their suicide risk. It followed concerns raised by Dr Victor Hong of the University of Michigan, who noted a 50% rise in the number of teenagers going into his psychiatric emergency service.
He concluded the show could be putting vulnerable youngsters at risk. The findings, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, could not prove a link between the show and suicide. But Dr Hong said: “Our study confirms we should definitely be concerned about [the show’s] impact on impressionable and vulnerable youth.”
Labour MP Stephen Doughty said: “We should be doing all we can to protect and safeguard children and young people from suicide narratives whether online or on streaming TV services.
“Providers like Netflix are simply not doing enough to ensure that appropriate age verification is in place for easily accessible TV services.”
Fellow Labour MP Jo Stevens, who sits on the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “The failure of age verification systems for online platforms is of global concern.
“In other sectors that can cause harm, like pharmaceuticals, there are strict product safety systems before the public has access. The tech sector shouldn’t be immune from this.”
It was claimed the programme inspired the attempted suicide of two 13-year-old girls in Bad Ischl, Austria.
And in the US the series was linked to a surge in internet searches for phrases which included the word “suicide”.
Netflix later agreed to add extra warnings about the graphic content of the drama, which was co-produced by singer and actress Selena Gomez , 26. Defending her role in the series, Gomez said: “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.”
Netflix robustly defended the show and said it was reviewing last week’s US study on the suicide increase.
The streaming service pointed to recent research from the University of Pennsylvania that found people aged 18 to 29 who watched all of the show’s second series were less likely to report self-harm and suicidal thoughts than those who did not watch the series.
A spokesman said: “Our hearts go out to this family. It is a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly.
The start of each series carries a message which says the show tackles issues such as "sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide and more."
It adds: "By shedding a light on these difficult topics, we hope our show can help viewers start a conversation. But if you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.
"And if you ever feel you need someone to talk with, reach out to a parent,a friend, a school counselor or an adult you trust, call a local helpline or go to 13reasonswhy.info. Because the minute you start talking about it,it gets easier."
For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free, around the clock, 365 days a year, on 116 123.
I told Netflix 13 Reasons Why should not be shown
A US suicide prevention expert says Netflix rejected his advice to dump the series.
Dan Reidenberg was consulted by producers before the premiere and he said it was just the kind of show to convince vulnerable kids to act on suicidal impulses.
He advised Netflix not to show it at all. “But that wasn’t an option,” he said. “That was made very clear to me.”
His claim came as a study showed a link between the release date of the show and a leap of almost 30% in suicides among US teens. Californian dad John Herndon claims his 15-year-old daughter Bella hanged herself after binge-watching the series.
Mr Reidenberg, head of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, said: “Young people are not that great at separating fiction from reality. My thoughts about the series are that it’s probably done more harm than any good. Although it’s created a conversation about suicide, it’s not the right conversation.”
Singer Selena Gomez was a driving force in getting the story adapted from a young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher. If features a classmate listening to 13 tapes left behind by a girl who killed herself.
Netflix says it worked hard to treat the issue sensitively but one school in Alberta, Canada, imposed a ban on talking about it.
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