Entertainment21 March 2018
When we first read the script for 13 Reasons Why, we were immediately blown away by the authenticity of the writing. The script really reflected the world of today’s teens in a way they would find authentic and adults would find relatable. In success, we would create a story that could pull teens and adults together and open up really important conversations.
From the beginning, because the series broaches uncomfortable topics, we believed it had the potential to be a powerful agent for change. Soon after the Season 1 launch, we saw global conversation explode on the controversial topics covered by the series and understood we had a responsibility to support these important discussions. To understand whether and how the series opened dialogue between teens and parents, we commissioned a global research study with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development, which has an active research focus on the impact of media on children and teens.
Today, Northwestern released the results of that study. 71% of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics. Some of the findings were unexpected and profound - more than half of teens reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them, and nearly three-quarters of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.
At the same time, research indicated the majority of parents felt that while the show brought up important topics, they wanted more resources from us. So, in advance of Season 2, we’re adding the following new tools and ways to support our viewers:
- Two-thirds of parents in our study asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support. We will be doing just that adding a custom intro at the start of each season with the cast.
- After hearing that more than half of parents want more guidance from mental health experts, we’ve added additional resources to 13ReasonsWhy.Info, which will now include a viewing guide to help parents and teens start these tough conversations.
- For many parents, the after show Beyond the Reasons helped them have a more informed conversation with their teenager. For Season 2, we’ll have a new after show, featuring many actors, experts and educators who helped inform our approach.
- We’re working with several groups around the world to provide support within their communities on the issues presented in the series. You can find out more here.
We’ve been personally inspired by the stories viewers have shared after watching the show and are humbled to share some of these stories with the world. You can see the start of that work here. The hope is that the steps we're taking now will help support more meaningful conversations as Season 2 rolls out later this year. We’ve seen in our research that teens took positive action after watching the series, and now - more than ever - we are seeing the power and compassion of this generation advocating on behalf of themselves and their peers.
Vice President of Original Series
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please visit 13ReasonsWhy.info for resources to seek help.