A new film called All the Bright Places will be released tonight on Netflix. It explores teen suicide and mental health issues. We haven’t seen the film ourselves but know some people are concerned about it, particularly given the impact 13 Reasons Why had on vulnerable viewers. It is rated R16 for "Language, Suicide References, Suicide Themes". As far as we know, the film does not contain a graphic suicide scene.
If you’re having a tough time right now, particularly if you’ve lost someone to suicide or are experiencing your own suicidal thoughts, this film might cause you distress. Put yourself first! If it’s not the right film for you tonight, tomorrow or any day after that, that’s okay! If you do watch it and need to talk, you can contact Youthline (free text 234 or call 0800 376 633) or free call/text 1737 to chat with a trained counsellor. We have a resource called Having suicidal thoughts and finding a way back that might help you right now.
Our advice to parents, caregivers and whānau whose young people/taiohi want to watch the film: don’t ban your young people from watching it. They will find ways to watch it when you’re not there but won’t feel able to talk to you if they feel upset or concerned by what they’ve seen. Watch it with them if you can (or read an online recap) and have open and honest conversations with them about it afterward. If your taiohi are having a hard time but want to watch the film, have an open and non-judgemental conversation with them about whether watching it now is the right decision.
Be mindful of vulnerable friends, whānau and others when watching or talking about the film – it’s never a bad time to ask someone how they’re doing and if they’re okay. Aotearoa needs to be a safe place for people who experience mental illness and/or suicidal thoughts to share their feelings and reach out for help. It’s important not to be defensive or dismissive but to really listen and do what you can to help. Youthline and 1737 are there to talk whenever you need.