Netflix deletes suicide scene after mental health experts express concerns | News | DW | 16.07.2019
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Netflix deletes suicide scene after mental health experts express concerns

The show was both praised and criticized for its frank discussion of mental health and bullying. Psychologists were concerned that the scene could provoke copycat suicides.

Online streaming service Netflix has deleted a scene from one of their shows after mental health institutions expressed concerns the scene glorified suicide.

"13 Reasons Why," which started airing in 2017, had a graphic suicide scene in the first season. Netflix decided to remove the scene on Monday evening following recommendations by a group of mental health experts.

Show creator Brian Yorkey said in a statement: "It was our hope, in making "13 Reasons Why" into a television show, to tell a story that would help young viewers feel seen and heard, and encourage empathy in all who viewed it, much as the best-selling book did before us."

The show tells the story of a high school student, Hannah Baker, who takes her own life.

Praise and criticism

"13 Reasons Why" initially received both praise and criticism over its content. Viewers said the show did well to raise issues such as self-harm and bullying, but some psychologists and schools were concerned it could provoke copycat suicides.

Netflix developed a website detailing crisis helplines in response to the first concerns.

In a statement on Twitter, Netflix said, "On the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one."

"We support the decision to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from '13 Reasons Why,'" the psychologists said on Twitter. "This positive change will ensure that "13 Reasons Why" continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention — while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers."

Read more: Support group helps grieving families of suicides

A study carried out by Northwestern University in Illinois last year revealed that a majority of young people thought "13 Reasons Why" made it easier for them to understand depression, and to empathize with victims of bullying.

"We've heard from many young people that "13 Reasons Why" encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help — often for the first time," Netflix said.

But another two studies found that suicides among US teens increased in number after the show was released.

If you feel like you need some help, visit this website for a number of helpful organizations

jns/ng (AP, AFP)

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