How 13 Reasons Why sparked years of suicide-contagion researchvar abtest_1787376 = new ABTest(1787376, ‘click’);

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13 Reasons Why gave rise to controversy about the transition to suicide. Four years later, a new UCLA study provides guidance for Hollywood on how to best handle such topics going forward.

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When 13 Reasons Why Debuting on Netflix on March 31, 2017, it initially received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. Viewers appreciated the show’s clear and sensitive handling of complex topics such as suicide, bullying, rape and depression. However, within weeks, mental health professionals in particular began to express strong objections to the YA-targeted show’s treatment of suicide—these professionals believed that the depictions triggered suicidal thoughts or actions in vulnerable adolescents. Can do. It is well known that high-profile suicides can sometimes affect imitators, but the issue is less clear when it comes to fictional stories. During the past four years, several, often conflicting studies on the same topic have emerged. Some studies show negative effects, while others show beneficial effects in young people who saw 13 Reasons Why.

The series aired its fourth and final season last year, but 13 Reasons Why continues to inspire research on the potential impact (positive or negative) of fictional stories on adolescent mental health. a new study Available today from researchers affiliated with UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers, the show focuses exclusively on the third season, and shows the series as 13 Reasons Why As long as issues are portrayed accurately and with empathy, it can have a positive impact on adolescent mental health.


The report also recommends that audiences be provided with appropriate complementary resources—which is a major challenge, as most viewers do not engage with such resources even when they are available. But whether it’s a streaming series or an accompanying reading, researchers at UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers strongly believe that media tweens and teen consumption play as important a role in their development as it does with any other youth demographic.

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“I went into the film business because I believe content can change the world,” said Yalda Uhls, a former film executive who went on to earn her PhD in child development and is now the head of this three-year-old research center. lead. “We are working to harness the power of entertainment media and support social and emotional learning for tweens, teens and young adults. There is a long history of doing this for preschool audiences, such as Sesame Street and PBS Kids. I thought there was a gap. The middle and teen years are as important a developmental period as childhood.”

(to spoil 13 Reasons Why Down.)

NS netflix series Based on the 2007 YA novel at the center of it all Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, in which a high school student named Clay struggles after the suicide of his friend Hannah. (Usher was inspired to write the book after a close relative attempted suicide.) Hannah left behind seven double-sided cassettes, which identify 13 people who made her such a desperation. guilty of the act. This is his way of facing his oppressors from across the grave.

There is a guy who insults her after the first date; the girl who spreads rumors about Hannah to hide her lesbian leanings; a student who betrays his trust; Bullying jock, Bryce, who rapes Hannah; and high school guidance counselor who turns a blind eye to Bryce’s chronic bullying and rap-y behavior, just to name a few. (Hannah wasn’t Bryce’s only victim.) Tapes are constantly sent to every person on the list. Hannah’s story is told in flashback, telling the events of today from Clay’s point of view.

Usher’s novel remained on The New York Times bestseller list for more than three years, despite mixed critical reviews, and eventually won several awards. But the story also generated considerable controversy due to its candid portrayal of bullying, sexual assault and suicide. From 2010 to 2019, it was the third most banned book in the US. The release of the Netflix series only garnered renewed attention.

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Aside from a few small deviations, the streaming series is pretty close to Usher’s novel. However, there is an important difference. In the novel, Hannah kills herself by swallowing a handful of pills. In contrast, the TV series originally included an intense, graphic scene where Hannah slashes her wrist in the bathtub. Full disclosure: I was a fan of the first season, and I found that scene beautifully rendered and emotionally powerful, though extremely difficult to watch. (The two are not mutually exclusive.) So I was obviously shocked when the reaction started. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been.

reaction begins

by standard Hollywood metrics, 13 Reasons Why was a success. The response, and viewership, was sufficiently strong to spawn three subsequent seasons (which were far less well received). Katherine Langford, who played Hannah, was nominated for a Golden Globe. series too Won a Mental Health America Media Award 2018 to “enhance the nationwide dialogue among parents, students, and mental health advocates on the epidemic of teen suicide, depression, and bullying.”

Among those who were not fans was Washington Post television critic Hank Stuver, who compared the show For one of ABC’s old afterschool specials. He also objected to the original story. “[It] strikes as remarkably in his understanding of suicide, even dangerously nave,” he wrote. As the weeks passed, voices like Stuyver began to dominate the conversation.

The response focused on the risk of suicidal ideation (or copycat suicide) among adolescents. Transition to suicide is an event in which exposure to suicide within family, among friends, or through the media can lead to an increase in suicidal behavior. Many expressed concern that the show glamorized suicide, and these critics thought the bathtub scene was particularly infringing. Current Journalism Guidelines For responsible reporting on suicide.

In April 2017, the National Association of School Psychologists issued a statement The series warned of potential adverse effects, and the organization even sent a letter to school mental health professionals—the first time such an action has been taken. NS Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP) Issued similar statement and criticized Portrait of ineffective mental health professionals—specifically, high school guidance counselor Kevin Porter (Derek Porter), who fails Hannah when she asks for her help after she is raped by Bryce.

“From a public health perspective, the creators of 13 Reasons Why (S1) disregarded established science and evidence that the approach they set out to adopt – depicting suicide in a crude and graphic way – would create a blueprint for a vulnerable subgroup, particularly those who Identified with character,” said John Ackerman, a psychologist specializing in suicide prevention at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Ackerman insists he is not anti-Netflix. “I am not someone who exaggerates the influence of the media,” he told Ars. “Media, gaming and social media can be part of the solution if done well. However, at the time the science was strong enough to know that there was a strong potential for harm. The almost unanimous consensus of this series by suicide prevention There was condemnation and the mental health community. Why? Because they knew what the makers didn’t do – not everyone’s attention to a problem is created equal, and suicide as a solution to distress and bullying is dangerous.”

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