On Wednesday, Netflix revealed the results of a study it commissioned with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development, in regards to the impact 13 Reasons Why had on its viewers.
“Soon after the season 1 launch, we saw global conversation explode on the controversial topics covered by the series and understood we had a responsibility to support these important discussions,” Netflix VP of Original Series Brian Wright wrote in a company blog post. The study was a response to that. Among the highlights of the findings:
- 71% of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics.
- More than 50% reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them.
- Nearly 75% of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.
- Two-thirds of parents asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support. (In response, a custom intro will be added at the start of each season with the cast: see it above.)
- More than half of parents want more guidance from mental health experts. (In response, additional resources have been added to 13ReasonsWhy.Info, which will now also include a viewing guide.)
Due to the study, the company also announced a new after show featuring the actors, experts, and educators who helped inform the brand and the series on its approach to the difficult subject matter.
13 Reasons Why emerged as one of Netflix’s most popular shows to date after premiering last year. Its exploration of the death by suicide of high school student Hannah Baker, and the reasons behind it, quickly became controversial as critics and mental health experts criticized the show for its use of blame as a framing device for a suicide narrative and its graphic depiction of suicide, among other issues.
“The hope is that the steps we’re taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as Season 2 rolls out later this year,” Wright continued. “We’ve seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now — more than ever — we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers.”
In conjunction with this new initiative, Netflix has released a video, “Tell Them,” in which two viewers describe how 13 Reasons Why changed their lives. You can watch it above.
13 Reasons Why will return for season 2 later this year.