As of this month, it has been confirmed that controversial American teen drama 13 Reasons Why will be renewed for a second season.
Season one begins with Clay Jensen receiving a package containing 13 audio tapes. When he presses play, he hears the voice of Hannah Baker – a close friend who recently died by suicide.
The season is split into 13 episodes, and each explores a distinct ‘reason’ why Hannah ended her own life. The final episode depicts Hannah’s death in graphic detail.
A month ago I wrote a piece outlining why the final episode of 13 Reasons Why should never have been made, and I firmly stand by it.
Health experts worldwide have criticised the series’ portrayal of suicide, and headspace Australia has issued a public health warning regarding possible suicide contagion.
Laura Brodnik and Clare Stephens discuss the upcoming second season of 13 Reasons Why on The Binge. Post continues below.
Since the series’ release, headspace has had a growing numbers of calls and emails directly related to the program, with a number of young people reporting that they now feel as though “suicide is a possible option for them”.
In New Zealand, which has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world, the classification was officially changed to ‘RP18’, meaning the show must be watched with a parent or guardian if one is under 18.
In the US, a superintendent of Palm Beach County, Florida schools, told parents that their school has seen an increase in self-harm and suicidal behaviour among students since the release of 13 Reasons Why.
But rather than acknowledge the very valid criticism from health experts, and participate in valuable conversations about how we portray and discuss the issue of suicide in a context where it is the leading cause of death among young people, Netflix has decided to instead commission another series.