SALT LAKE CITY — Netflix announced Wednesday that it will add a new anti-suicide warning video before the show’s new episodes.
The video includes cast members talking to the audience about the dangers of suicide and how it is a real-world issue, according to Deadline.
“If you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult,” says Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica Davis on the show, in the video.
Watch the video below.
The entire message of the video reads:
“‘13 Reasons Why’ is a fictional series that tackles tough, real-world issues, taking a look at sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide and more. By shedding a light on these difficult topics we hope our show can help viewers start a conversation. But if you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult. And if you ever feel you need someone to talk with, reach out to a parent, a friend, a school counselor or an adult you trust, call a local helpline or go to 13reasonswhy.info. Because the minute that you start talking about it, it gets easier.”
Netflix will also add a downloadable discussion guide on its website for viewers, and it will include a 30-minute documentary called “Beyond the Reasons,” which follows the actors and crew after the show’s first season.
Brian Wright, Netflix’s vice president of original series, told BuzzFeed News that Netflix launched these changes after the show received heavy criticism for its depictions of suicide.
“We didn’t know in Season 1 that the conversation was going to be this big,” Wright said. “What we’re doing now with the lead-up to launch is working with organizations all over the globe, mental health organizations, and school counselor organizations to make sure that people are armed with information and ready for these conversations.”
Critics and experts said the show glamorized suicide and sexual assault, according to the Deseret News.
Utah suicide expert Greg Hudnall said at the time that parents shouldn’t let children watch the show.
“I'm all about educating people on prevention,” he told the Deseret News in a phone interview. “I'm all about suicide prevention. What I'm not about is sensationalizing suicide.”
Hudnall said the show also got many things wrong about suicide.
“I think in the long run it can cause more trauma and more pain for children,” he told the Deseret News.
Public schools nationwide condemned the show, sending out letters to parents to make them aware of the topics it covered.
“While the show is fictional, the series is extremely graphic, including several rape scenes, and raises significant concerns about the emotional safety of those watching it,” said one letter from a public school in Montclair, New Jersey, according to The Independent.
Backlash to the show led New Zealand’s Office of Film & Literature Classification to create a new rating for the show that tells children under 18 years old to watch it with a parent.
Despite the warnings, Netflix decided to renew the show for a second season.
In May, The Atlantic reported that the show will once again create a divide in its second season, especially if it approaches another dark subject.
“The creators of ‘13 Reasons Why’ will likely be able to respond to critics with a second season,” according to The Atlantic. “The final episode of the first seemed to set up a storyline about a school shooting, showing a character who’d been humiliated by his peers stockpiling guns and explosives, and creating a collage of students he saw as his enemies. It’s an equally provocative subject that has similarly in-depth guidelines with regard to how it can be treated responsibly by the media. And it has the potential to be just as influential, and just as divisive.”