Last year, 13 Reasons Why became an instant Netflix hit as the tragic story of teenage Hannah explaining the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide captured viewers' attention. But, the adaption of the Jay Asher novel of the same name generated as much criticism as it did acclaim. And now, for Season 2, the show will directly respond to the complaints that it glamorizes teenage suicide.
The show explains the events leading up to Hannah's suicide — which was shown in graphic detail — and the 13 audiotapes she left behind for her classmates to make sense of. Some praised the show for bringing topics like depression, sexual assault, and bullying awareness — but, others thought the show took it a step too far and had the potential to encourage those very issues. In response to the criticism, Netflix added warning cards and crisis hotlines — and they're not stopping there.
On March 21, the streaming company revealed that they commissioned a global research study with Northwestern University's Center on Media and Human Development, which looked at the impact of media on children and teens. The results of the study showed that 71% of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics. More than half of teens reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them, and nearly three-quarters of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.
However, the concern from parents is still an issue. The study also showed that parents agreed that the show brought up important topics, but they wanted more resources added. So, in response to their feedback, Netflix added more tools for viewers.
Next season, the show will include the above custom intro at the start of the season. Additionally, it will have more resources at 13ReasonsWhy.Info including a viewing guide to help parents and teens start tough conversations. Plus, another after-show similar to Season 1's Beyond the Reasons will air following Season 2 with additional ways to prompt healthy conversations surrounding mental illness.
"The hope is that the steps we're taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as Season 2 rolls out later this year," vice president Brian Wright wrote. "We've seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now — more than ever — we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers."
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.