When “13 Reasons Why” first hit Netflix, it quickly went viral. The show, centered around a teen girl named Hannah who committed suicide, seemed to address the tough questions and issues kids face today. In the final episode of the first season, there’s a graphic scene in which the main character kills herself in a bathtub.
And in mid-July of this year – nearly three years after the show first aired – Netflix tweeted that it removed the grisly scene on the advice of medical experts. The controversy it caused, although it was lauded by critics, was mainly from health advocates who fear that the show glorifies suicide.
A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggested that “13 Reasons Why” was a factor in the rise of teen suicides. In fact, the study found that the suicide rate among children aged 10 to 17 went up by nearly 30 percent in April of 2017 – just a month after the show first aired on Netflix. School officials all over the country sent warnings out to parents about the show at the time.
Netflix’s Chief Executive Reed Hastings talked about the show at the company’s 2018 annual meeting, saying, “It is controversial, but nobody has to watch it.”
After the show’s first season, Netflix voluntarily added a graphic content warning and included information people could use to contact suicide prevention experts.
What Do You Think?
Did you watch “13 Reasons Why”? Had you seen the final episode of the first season before Netflix removed the suicide scene, and do you believe the show glorifies suicide or tackles tough issues teens are facing?