It has been a year since 13 Reasons Why was released on Netflix. Ahead of the second season Netflix have released the results of a research study about the series as well as videos, one cautioning viewers about the issues covered, others showing how it has impacted viewers to tell their own stories.
Based on Jay Asher’s book, the show tells the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a student who committed suicide. Two weeks after her death, her friend Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) receives a box of tapes recorded by Hannah, detailing the 13 reasons that led to her suicide.
From showrunner Brian Yorkey, the impact of the series was incredible and hit the news due to the graphic nature of some of the episodes, the topics raised and how people were responding to the show. Netflix had been paying attention to the “global conversation”, and as reported on their blog, they decided to go the extra mile, feeling that they had a responsibility to support the important discussions.
Netflix commissioned a global research study with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development. Exploring How Teens and Parents Responded to 13 Reasons Why, the study surveyed more that 5000 people in the US, UK, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand to see how they responded to the series.
Based on their findings:
- At least 74% of young adults felt that watching 13 Reasons Why helped them understand that their actions can have an impact on others.
- At least 63% of people felt that the show was beneficial for them to watch.
- At least 59% of teens and young adults agreed that the show helped them to better understand and process issues such as depression, suicide, bullying, and sexual assault.
If you wish to know more, the global study report (as well as reports on each region) can be viewed on Northwestern University’s page.
Notably, parents involved in the study asked to have the cast of the series come out of character to discuss how to get support. Netflix have done just that – ahead of season two, each episode will include a custom intro at the start, with the cast advising viewers about the topics in the show and where to go should they need help. It will also be added to the first season for new viewers.
Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Brian Yorkey noted that the study would not have any effect on the episodes in the second season, which had already wrapped before the results were delivered to Netflix. “The content of the show hasn’t changed, but the research showed that people are craving more information and they are craving help.”
Netflix have also released a number of videos. One has two viewers explain how the series motivated them to share their own stories.
Another has the cast members Michele Selene Ang, Alisha Boe and Justin Prentice reading personal letters.
A launch date for season two of 13 Reasons Why has not yet been announced, but will stream on Netflix later this year.