Two years after the divisive first season, experts say some viewers may need support as the third season of 13 Reason Why premieres on August 23.
The controversial series came out in 2017, with the first season particularly contentious as it dealt with complex issues such as suicide, mental illness and sexual assault.
Earlier this year, Netflix decided to remove a particularly graphic scene from the first season, which depicted the suicide of character Hannah Baker.
For over a decade, the Mindframe team at Everymind have worked with the stage and screen industry in Australia to ensure scriptwriters around the world cover mental illness and suicide safely.
Mindframe was instrumental in getting the suicide scene removed from season one, they worked alongside other suicide prevention programs around the world and met with Netflix executives.
“Suicide is complex and means restriction is a major protective factor in suicide prevention,” Mindframe’s Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Marc Bryant said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia.
“Our guidelines can easily be adapted by online streaming giants in the US, where they could provide them to scriptwriters globally, to cover suicide and mental ill-health safely.”
Suicide, when depicted on film or television, or even when reported in the media, can have a detrimental impact on vulnerable audiences.
“Preferred portrayals of suicide do not glorify or romanticise it and do not provide visual details of or spoken references to the exact method,” the Mindframe guide states.
“Rather more appropriate portrayals depict the consequences for others and provides sources of help for vulnerable viewers.”
Despite the TV show steering away from suicide and mental illness, Mindframe still anticipates conversation around 13 Reasons Why’s third season.
“While the series title remains the same, subject matter in season three has steered away from the focus of suicide, found within seasons one and two, to now centralise around another plot angle,” Mr Bryant said.
“There is still however an expectation that conversations around the series may occur among viewers and the general public.
“This means there is still a need to support viewers into the release of season three due to the discussion of suicide along the series and the promotion of help-seeking behaviour.”
Netflix approached Mindframe for support and to ensure safe promotion for the Netflix movie ‘To The Bone’, which is when they were approached again in the lead up to 13 Reasons Why’s second season.
Mr Bryant said the aim of Mindframe is to have online streaming platforms utilise guidelines available to them and “to help protect viewers and reduce the normalisation of suicide”.
“If scriptwriters know how to portray suicide safely, they will write stories that are authentic and can be helpful to vulnerable audiences,” he said.
According to the Black Dog Institute, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 years.
In 2017, more than 3,000 Australians died by suicide.
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