The controversial television drama that triggered warnings from parents and mental health organisations is on the cusp of securing a second season.
13 Reasons Why is close to landing a deal with Netflix to stream a sophomore season. The show’s creators have set up a writers’ room and have been throwing ideas back-and-forth over the past few weeks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The drama – which explores the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide, as well as themes of bullying sexual assault – was made available to New Zealand Netflix users in March. In the first season, teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) uncovers a series of cassette tapes in which 17-year-old Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) explains why she violently ended her life.
13 Reasons Why quickly caught the attention of mental health and suicide prevention agencies, who claim the show caused a spike in calls from concerned young people and parents.
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Mental Health Foundation New Zealand chief executive Shaun Robinson said he had not watched the show but was concerned it was depicting suicide in a way that was irresponsible and dangerous.
“It is important to discuss suicide but what is not appropriate is to raise these issues in a context of a lack of hope and to present the notion of someone taking their own life as inevitable or heroic or something to be emulated,” he said.
Concerns about the show airing in New Zealand without a classification prompted the New Zealand Classifications Office to investigate the show.
The investigation resulted in the creation of a new classification – RP18 – which requires anyone under the age of 18 to watch with a parent or guardian, but does not bar children and teens from seeing the show.
The head of Australian counselling service, headspace, Dr Steven Leicester, says clinicians had been dealing with a stream of concerned individuals since the TV show started streaming in Australia.
“There is a responsibility for broadcasters to know what they are showing and the impact that certain content can have on an audience – and a young audience in particular,” he said.
The manager of headspace’s school support service, meanwhile, warned that exposing young people to content that explicitly depicts a method of self-harm can lead to “suicide contagion”.
In the series finale, Hannah Baker is shown ending her life in the bath, with her method of self-harm not only depicted, but drawn-out.
But there are those who have leapt to the show’s defence. Series writer Nic Sheff has penned an op-ed arguing that the final scene shows suicide is not a “quiet drifting off”.
“It overwhelmingly seems to me that the most irresponsible thing we could’ve done would have been not to show the death at all,” he said, speaking from personal experience.
“Facing these issues head-on – talking about them, being open about them – will always be our best defense against losing another life.”
In addition, the show’s creators consulted with mental health professionals during production and ensured a content warning appeared at the beginning of each episode.
Where to get help:
Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day.
Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
Alcohol Drug Help (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).
Where to get help, sexual violence:
Rape Crisis – 0800 88 33 00 (24hr service), click link for information on local helplines
Victim Support – 0800 842 846 (24hr service)
The Harbour, online support and information for people affected by sexual abuse
Women’s Refuge (Females only) – crisis line available on 0800 733 843
Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (Males only), Helplines across NZ, click to find out more
If you are in danger, or are being subjected to sexual violence, call 111.
– BRISBANE TIMES and STUFF