Netflix 13 Reasons Why: What Viewers Should Consider
In March 2017, Netflix released Thirteen Reasons Why (13RY), a 13-part series based on the young-adult fiction novel written by Jay Asher and published in 2007.
Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of a high school student who experiences a series of terrible events—many of which are perpetrated by her classmates and friends. The protagonist, Hannah, has died by suicide. Before she died, she made a series of tapes explaining what each person in her circle has done to hurt her. Each episode tells one part of the story focused on a painful event and interaction.
In light of the feedback about this show, on the day of its release, JED, a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for teens and young adults, partnered with Suicide Awareness Voices of America (SAVE) to develop Talking Points to help clinicians and mental health professionals discuss the show with parents, young people and the media. Netflix was supportive of the distribution of the Talking Points and posted them along with crisis services and a link to additional information about young adult mental health on the official 13RY resource website. Netflix also filmed Beyond The Reasons as a tool to help parents and teens frame the conversation and encourage them to speak up and seek help. The show is rated TV MA and there are trigger warning cards prior to three of the episodes.
Victor Schwartz M.D., psychiatrist and former medical director of NYU’s Counseling Service, recommends young viewers and parents “make a considered and thoughtful decision about whether or not you choose to watch the show.” He states, “If you have experienced significant depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts or behaviors in the past, this show may be risky for you to watch.”
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