Exam anger over Netflix release of second series of 13 Reasons Why

Mental health experts hit out at Netflix as release of suicide drama coincides with stressful exam period

  • The second series of Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why is to be released on May 18
  • Mental health campaigners have voiced outrage calling it ‘callous’ 
  • It is the story of fictional teenage character Hannah Baker’s life and death
  • Suicide rates typically peak during the exam period for GCSEs and A-levels

TV giant Netflix has been criticised over its planned release of a teenage suicide drama – just as student stress levels across the country will be at their peak. 

The second series of 13 Reasons Why is set to be released next Friday, May 18, just as students will be picking up their pens for revision and exams throughout the country.  

The Royal College of Psychiatrists branded the move ‘callous’ as it said that suicide rates typically go up at this time of year during exam season.

Mental health experts are concerned at the timing of the latest series of 13 Reasons Why, which is about the life and death of Hannah Baker (pictured right) portrayed by Katherine Langford

The series tells the story of  17-year-old Hannah Baker’s life and death and will be made available online just as students are doing their GCSEs and A-levels.

Netflix has highlighted a number of videos by cast members discussing the challenging topics that the series raises.

It has also made a video to warn viewers about the nature of the programme, and indicating sources of support and help. 

Dr Helen Rayner, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Guardian: ‘It’s well known within children’s services that there’s an increase in completed suicides and suicide attempts during the exam season.

‘I feel extremely disappointed and angry. This glamourises suicide and makes it seductive.’

She added that the programme introduced the idea to the young that suicide was something ‘that’s possible’. 

General secretary of the Association of School and College Lecturers, Geoff Barton, also told The Guardian:  ‘I would share the concerns of parents and teachers, given that we already know the levels of anxiety young people feel during the exam season.’

Dylan Minnette (pictured left) plays Clay Jenkins who is the friend and love interest of Hannah Baker 

The dramatic second series comes at a time when teenagers will be picking up their pens for their GCSEs and A-levels 

But actress Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica Davis in the series, said: ‘But if you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.’ 

Around 922 people aged 25 committed suicide in England and Wales in 2014 and 2015. Suicide now accounts for 14 per cent of all deaths among 10- to 19-year-olds.

  • The NSPCC urged young people who were worried about the issues raised to contact Childline. The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. 


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