Netflix is ratcheting up its content warnings on 13 Reasons Why.
In the wake of mental health community alarm over the series — which depicts explicit rape scenes and teen suicide — the streaming service is loading up the program with additional content advisories.
Previously, two episodes of the series were fronted with warnings to viewers. This week Netflix will add a warning to the show before it even begins, and the text of the other warnings will be strengthened.
“There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why,” explained Netflix in a statement. “While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting an important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently, the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13ReasonsWhy.info — a global resource center that provides information about professional organizations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show.”
In Canada, discussion of the show in some schools has reportedly been outright banned, with one elementary school warning parents, “Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter.”
The National Association of School Psychologists released a statement, warning, “Research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide … We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series.”
Previously, the show’s team explained to EW why it felt necessary to — spoiler alert — depict its main character’s bathtub death by suicide in such a disturbing fashion. “We worked very hard not to be gratuitous, but we did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide,” show creator Brian Yorkey said.