On Monday March 11, the Herald released Jessica’s Tree, a five-part series about suicide and mental health funded by NZ On Air.
The series shares the account of two girls who are battling for life; 23 year old director Jazz Thornton survived her own attempts to take her life but lost her friend Jess to suicide.
In Jessica’s Tree, Thornton revisits the last 24 hours of Jess’ life, talking to those who were closest to her to find out what light Jess’ death can shed on how we can and should change our view of suicide as a community.
Planning Editor Andrew Laxon says that while the series covers some sobering topics, the courage of Thornton is inspiring and leaves the viewers with hope.
“The statistics around mental health and suicide in particular in New Zealand are devastating. Jessica’s Tree gives a voice to those who have been directly impacted by suicide and we are proud to provide a platform for such an important and change-provoking series. Our hope is that this project resonates with New Zealand and starts to shift perceptions around suicide.”
While the topic of the series is confronting and may feel uncomfortable, Thornton challenges the audience not to turn away, but to understand how we think about and towards people struggling with mental health and suicide.
Warning: This video series is about suicide and sexual abuse, which some people may find disturbing. It also contains strong language. Please contact any of the following organisations if you need help.
Where to get help:
Need to talk? 1737 Free call or text 24/7
Safe to talk – 0800 044 334 (sexual harm helpline)
Lifeline 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline 0800 376 633
Kidsline 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Depression helpline 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel you or someone else is at risk, call 111
Australia: Lifeline: 13-11-14
America: Suicide prevention helpline: 1-800-273-8255
UK: 1-800- SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)