13 Reasons Why is a hard show to watch for a number of reasons. Both the Netflix drama and the book on which it is based deal with the issues of substance abuse, bullying, sexual assault, and suicide in detail — including showing Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) killing herself.
The first season faced a backlash from some mental health professionals and viewers for choosing to show Hannah’s suicide in such detail. Many thought the scene was gratuitous and glorified suicide. The show was also criticized for not doing enough to warn viewers of the graphic nature of the content or offering enough resources for those needing to seek help of their own.
For Season 2, Netflix has taken steps to address these concerns. They have added new videos and resources on how to find help and guides for parents on how to start conversations about the subjects the show tackles.
Starting the Conversation
Before fans can even start the new season of 13 Reasons Why, they are greeted by a video warning about the show’s content. In the video, the cast encourages teens to watch with an adult if they are worried about the issues depicted in the series. The actors also remind viewers that it is okay to ask for help and where they can find the help they need.
This is not the only new video for the season. Netflix also released a video titled “Tell Them” featuring the ways in which the show impacted two viewers, one who shared her own story of sexual assault and the other who was encouraged to start a program to stop bullying at her own high school. There will also be an after show called “Beyond the Reasons” that will include discussions with mental health professionals as well as the actors and producers going into more detail about the episodes. Netflix is using these videos to start conversations that will hopefully lead to more open discussions about mental health, sexual assault, suicide, and bullying.
Continuing the Dialogue
The main place fans are directed to find resources is the show’s website 13ReasonsWhy.info. It links to several organizations including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Trevor Project, and RAINN for further support and services. The website is listed at the end of each episode.
Also on the website is a downloadable discussion guide. It features questions and discussion topics for parents and educators to continue the dialogue started by the series. The guide will be updated for Season 2. It serves as good starting place for those who don’t know how to begin talking about some of these tough subjects.
It is important that Netflix is taking these steps to ensure viewers are safe and well informed about the programing they are watching. Hopefully 13 Reasons Why will continue to help people start conversations about real issues affecting teens today.
13 Reasons Why Season 2 premieres on May 18th.