Netflix’s decision to edit out the controversial suicide scene from the first series of 13 Reasons Why has been welcomed by Samaritans.
In a statement issued from its US Twitter account, the streaming service explained that following advice from medical experts they were now altering the scene where Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, takes her own life.
The version now available to stream has removed the three-minute scene, instead cutting directly to the discovery of Hannah’s body.
Executive Lead of the Samaritans Media Advisory service Lorna Fraser praised the decision by Netflix, calling for broadcasters to be “responsible” when depicting sensitive and difficult material.
“We welcome Netflix’s decision to edit out the suicide scene from the first season of 13 Reasons Why,” Fraser explained to RadioTimes.com.
“We raised our concerns over the content and have been working with the Netflix team here in the UK to provide advice on the safe portrayal of suicide, including viewer support and signposting to helplines such as Samaritans.
“While covering difficult topics in drama can help to increase understanding and encourage people to seek help, it’s important this is done in a responsible way, due to the evidenced risks associated with covering this topic in the media. Programme makers should always seek advice from experts on the portrayal of suicide, to ensure any risk to vulnerable viewers is minimised.
“Samaritans publishes Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide and has been working with UK media for over two decades, providing advice on how to cover this topic safely. “
Netflix said it had been “mindful about the ongoing debate around the show” as it preps for its upcoming third series, due for release this summer.
“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,” read the statement.
“So 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 of 1 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season 1.”
The first series of the show, released in 2017, was praised by some for promoting awareness around mental-health issues, bullying and sexual assault.
However, others were concerned that the show may have “glamorised” suicide, making the action seem appealing to an impressionable young audience.
Producer Brian Yorkey previously defended the show on Twitter, explaining 13 Reasons Why portrayed the “ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail to make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it”.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, contact Samaritans for free from any phone at any time of the day or night on 116 123