Netflix recently released season 2 of the popular and controversial series, ’13 Reasons Why’. The show is based on a 2007 young adult novel by Jay Asher. Here are 13 things you need to know about ’13 Reasons Why’.
- The Show Deals With A Wide Range Of Issues Teens Face Today
Bullying, depression, sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, academic pressure, self-harm, and other contemporary issues facing teens today are addressed in the show, often with graphic detail. These are real issues that kids are facing every day. While ’13 Reasons Why’ is a work of fiction that dramatizes these situations, it is based on the reality that exists in today’s rapidly changing world.
- Netflix Provides Resources To Help Watch This Show
Netflix has created this site with resources to help viewers unpack the difficult issues addressed in the show. They even include a discussion guide and provide a video if you choose to watch the show with your kids. Many mental health professionals including those at Beech Acres Parenting Center caution parents against letting their children watch this show. There is an excellent online toolkit created by various professional available online to help navigate the issues addressed in the show.
- After Season 1 There Was a Rise in Google Searches Related To ‘Suicide’
In the 19 days following the release of the first season of the show, Google inquiries for “suicide” increased by nearly 20%.
- Mature Audiences Only
’13 Reasons Why’ is rated TV-MA. TV-MA is defined as “This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17. This program may contain one or more of the following: crude indecent language (L), explicit sexual activity (S), or graphic violence (V).”
- It’s Trending On Twitter
The show received over 11 million tweets after its 2017 debut, making it the most tweeted about show ever. The level of attention and coverage of the show has created curiosity about the show for younger viewers.
- 1 in 5 Youth Between 13 and 18 Years Old Have or Will Have a Serious Mental Illness.
Mental illness is a serious epidemic. Talk to your children. Know the warning signs of depression. These signs can include fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, persistent sad thoughts, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Seek help if you have concerns about yourself or a loved one.
- Suicide is the 10th Leading Cause of Death in the United States
It’s even higher for teens. According to the CDC, suicide is the #3 cause of death for ages 10-24.
- There Is Stigma Associated With Mental Health Issues
Despite recent strides in removing this stigma, there is still much to be done. Organizations like Bring Change To Mind are working to eliminate this stigma.
- 16% Of Youth Consider Suicide
A survey of high school students in the United States yielded some sobering results. 16% of the students surveyed seriously considered suicide and 13% had created a plan. 8% had attempted to take their own life in the previous 12 months.
- Many Teens Don’t Receive Help
Suicide is mostly associated with depression but can be related to a diverse range of other mental health problems. Unfortunately, most teens in the United States with suicidal ideation did not receive any specialized mental health treatment. Reasons for this include a lack of awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms, the stigma associated with mental illness, and lack of access to treatment resources.
- There Are Concerns The Show Romanticizes Suicide and Other Serious Issues
Since the show deals with very real issues adolescents face, there is concern that vulnerable teens may identify with the characters, powerful storytelling, and sensationalized portrayal of these topics leading them to romanticize the decisions and actions made by characters on the show.
- Hannah’s Suicide Is Graphic
To bring authenticity and elevate the drama portrayed in the show, many of the topics are presented in very graphic scenes. This includes the portrayal of the main character’s (Hannah Baker) suicide in season 1. The scene is detailed and lasts for nearly 4 minutes. Despite the warnings, this scene may come as a shock to young and old alike.
- Help Is Always Available
Talk to someone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Educators can find guidance on addressing the show in school here. Additional information can be found here.