Their story isn't over…with a more official trailer released yesterday, season two of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is set for release on May 18. Season one was a fictional account of a young teenager Hannah Baker who dies by suicide, leaving behind messages for 13 people who she claims were influential in her decision to take her own life. Season two alludes to someone covering up the truth about Baker's death, additional suicide attempts, and a school shooting. The school shooting could be particularly triggering for students nationally in light of the recent tragic shooting in Florida.
The show has sparked a great deal of conversation among viewers especially on Twitter. Tough issues are addressed in the series such as sexual assault, depression, bullying, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide. However, experts in the field of mental health and suicide prevention expressed concern regarding how the show approached these topics, particularly Hannah's graphic suicide and all the attention she received, as viewers may begin to romanticize suicide, seeing it as a viable option.
Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds with reports indicating that hospitalizations and emergency room visits for suicidal thoughts and behaviors have increased since the release of season one. In response, a Netflix study evaluating the effects of the show found the following:
Producers have responded and since created a video message from the cast warning viewers struggling with similar issues that they may want to watch the series with a trusted adult or avoid it altogether. Cast members also provide resources and encourage those struggling to reach out to a parent, friend, counselor, or another adult. A season one discussion guide is available addressing the difficult topics of the series along with suggestions for how to begin effective conversations. Finally, Netflix has increased their parental controls to allow parents to make their own best decisions for viewing.
Lastly, suicide is preventable. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can contact the following resources: