’13 Reasons Why’: Recap, Impact and What happens next?

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Netflix’s most controversial series of 2017, “13 Reasons Why” sparked conversations across many platforms around teen suicide and whether the TV show was raising awareness of suicide or exploiting it for entertainment. 

If you’ve been living under a rock, the series follows a group of students who are haunted by tapes left by Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who took her own life as a result of bullying.

The show displays the consequences of physical, emotional, cyber bullying and sexual assault within the younger generation and how those issues are dealt with.

Published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Network, Dr John W. Ayers and Dr Benjamin M. Althouse identified a correlation between the release of the series and a significant increase in the amount of google search numbers revolving around suicide in the US. Using google trends to conduct the study, they found for the following 19 days from the final episode, suicide related queries were 19% higher than standard. 19% is roughly equivalent to 900,000 to 1.5 million people in the US, reflecting the impact that the series had.

Marc Bryant, program manager at Mindframe, which manages suicide reporting within the media, highlighted the relationship the organisation has formed with the streaming service in the lead up to the launch of the second season. 

“Netflix came to us late last year and wanted to hear to our ideas. We said that if we are on the front foot with new shows that has sensitive content, we can help with mitigating strategies – supporting media and, in the case of 13 reasons 2, agencies such as headspace being able to prepare schools for difficult conversations.”

“13 Reasons Why opened up conversations. However health experts, such as Mindframe, say the evidence shows it has the potential to trigger vulnerable audiences (such a showing method).”

“It is imperative that we have everyone willing to play their part and Netflix were open to talking to us and other experts around the globe. What we need is for all of our streaming services to come to the table and join the conversation to become partners in an ongoing solution. Australia could lead the way internationally in this new media world.”

The extremity of the content of the show breached the guidelines put in place surrounding suicide reporting within the media to protect victims and to prevent other vulnerable members of society picking up on specific details.

As a result of working with organisations like Everymind, the suicide prevention group, and Mindframe, Netflix launched a website people can go to from anywhere in the world that has access to the streaming service. It uses your location to identify the helplines located within your region, Australia’s being Headspace and Kids Helpline. 

There will be an increase in warning signage at the beginning of each episode, however the shows creator Brian Yorkey has previously said that they will not change the way they tell the story.

The highly anticipated second series begins on Netflix this afternoon, the 18th of May.

If you need to talk to someone or are seeking help, use the hotlines below:

Headspace: http://headspace.org.au

Kids Helpline: http://kidshelpline.com.au/kids

Everymind: https://everymind.org.au

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