11 March, 2019


NZ Herald today 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 young women battling for life; while 23-year-old Director Jazz Thornton survived her own attempts at suicide, she lost her friend Jess.


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 act towards people struggling with mental health and suicide. 


"New Zealand is now aware that suicide is a huge issue in our nation - now it is time to not only focus on the issue, but what we can do to change it. This story is incredibly close to my heart; we spent 18 months ensuring that we told it in a way that not only reveals an issue, but more importantly allows people to begin to understand suicide - I really do believe that Jessica's Tree will be able to not only provide hope but also create change in our society. Change is possible, and it starts with you", says Thornton.  

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 friend, partner, family member or colleague.

The series was created by Augusto and can be seen here.




Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


Or if you need to talk to someone:

1737 Free call or text 24/7
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






For further information please contact:

Kate Barron


+64 27 422 0079






About NZME

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[1]Nielsen CMI Fused Q4 17 – Q3 18. November 2018 AP10+. Based on unduplicated weekly reach of NZME newspapers, radio stations, and monthly domestic unique audience of NZME’s digital channels.