If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You are not alone.
A 13 Reasons Why star has let the cat out the bag and posted on social media that Season 3 of the teen-targeted series could premiere in October.
The American Family Association (AFA, afa.net), which has warned parents for many months about the dangers of 13 Reasons Why, is pointing to the irony that Netflix is seemingly moving forward with a series that glorifies suicide, but recently put a moratorium on scenes in original programming geared toward younger audiences that depict characters smoking.
AFA has shared the tragic story of Anna Bright, the 14-year-old daughter of Joseph and Patrice Bright who committed suicide after binge-watching Season 1 of the program. Netflix announced last week that it has cut the graphic suicide scene from Season 1 where central figure Hannah Baker slits her wrists in a bathtub full of water. But the damage, AFA says, has been done.
"Anna Bright is not the only teen to have taken her life within days of viewing the show," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "The families of two 15-year-old California teens, Bella and Priscilla, also blame their loved ones' deaths on the series. Both teens, who did not know one another, were struggling with depression, watched the show, apparently were triggered by it and committed suicide. Their families, along with many others, are also calling for Netflix to abandon the series. Tragically, many more suicides may have resulted because of '13 Reasons Why,' but families and loved ones will be left to wonder why their children are gone from their lives forever."
This spring, major media outlets reported on a study that confirmed the fears of AFA and others. Suicides among U.S. children aged 10 to 17, the study found, jumped to a 19-year high in the month following the release of 13 Reasons Why.
The study by Dr. Jeff Bridge, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found "there were 195 more youth suicides than would have been expected in the nine months following the show's March 2017 release, given historical and seasonal suicide trends," according to the Associated Press.
During April 2017 alone, 190 U.S. tweens and teens took their own lives, AP further reported. This age group's April 2017 suicide rate was .57 per 100,000 people, nearly 30 percent higher than in the preceding five years included in the study. An additional analysis found that the April rate was higher than in the previous 19 years. Season 1 of 13 Reasons Why was released March 31, 2017.
13 Reasons Why has become a lightning rod for critics, who say it glorifies suicide and might even make it an attractive option for teenagers who are enduring difficult times. In fact, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center has an entire section of its website dedicated to 13 Reasons Why.
Season 1 of 13 Reasons Why focused on Hannah's suicide, and her decision to end her life is explained through a collection of cassette tapes she leaves behind. Season 2 picks up months after Hannah's suicide, and the gratuitous content is only exacerbated with story lines that include sodomy, homosexuality, drug use, extreme profanity and a plotted school shooting.
An online petition launched by AFA urging Netflix to drop the series has drawn more than 144,000 signatures. Read Wildmon's letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings here and sign the petition to Netflix here. Visit an AFA Action Alert on 13 Reasons Why, and read the article about Anna Bright's family in AFA Journal.
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