The showrunner Brian Yorker is responding to a recent study that claimed the suicide rate among teenagers rose following the release of his Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Selena Gomez exec produces the show, which stars Dylan Minnette.
The show dealt with teen suicide. Yorkey and series adviser/psychiatrist Rebecca Hedrick wrote a column for The Hollywood Reporter arguing that the series has instead helped dissipate some of the stigmas surrounding suicide and depression.
The study claimed there was a 13% increase in suicide among children and teens ages 10-19 in the three months after the show’s release in March of 2017.
Their goal was to “shed light” on these issues, Yorker and Hedrick wrote; For “every script,” then, the series' writers and producers worked with psychiatrists, teachers and other experts to “ensure that even the most challenging scenes were grounded in reality.”
“Numerous independent pieces of research” support the positive impact of the show, including one study citing evidence that admitted bullies changed their behavior after viewing the series, they added. “We've heard from people all around the world that the series gave them the courage to talk about issues they'd struggled to discuss before, including with their own families,” wrote Yorkey and Hedrick.