Graphic suicide scene edited out of 13 Reasons Why finale

Netflix has decided to remove a graphic suicide scene from the Season 1 finale of its show 13 Reasons Why as the series prepares to launch its third season.

Producers heeded concerns from mental-health experts

Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, a controversial young adult drama on suicide. (Netflix)

Netflix is removing a controversial graphic scene depicting a youth suicide from its popular young adult drama 13 Reasons Why following advice from medical experts, the company said on its Twitter account early on Tuesday.

The show, based on a book of the same name, depicts the suicide of the protagonist in the last episode of Season 1, with a scene of the youth Hannah slitting her wrists in a bathtub.

The company said on Twitter that on the advice of medical experts, it had "decided with the creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life."

In an emailed statement early on Tuesday, a Netflix spokesperson said, "We've heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide."

While critically acclaimed, the show has drawn criticism from groups including the Parents Television Council (PTC), which says the show glorifies teen suicide.

'Harmful impact'

The move to edit the scene drew praise from a number of agencies, including the PTC, which has also lobbied Netflix to drop the show entirely.

"Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful impact that explicit content, such as the graphic suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why is capable of inflicting on children."

The American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention were among others welcoming the move.

Canadian and international researchers found an increase in youth suicides in the months following the show's 2017 release.

The researchers said the study had limitations, and they could not make a direct "causal link" between 13 Reasons Why and the rise in suicide rates, or rule out other factors.

The show tells the story of a teen who leaves behind a series of 13 tapes describing why she decided to take her life.

The graphic scene caused a backlash among parents and health professionals, prompting Netflix in 2017 to put up additional viewer warning cards and direct viewers to support groups.

A second season of 13 Reasons Why was released in May 2018 and a third season has been ordered by Netflix. 

Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (phone) | 45645 (text) | crisisservicescanada.ca (chat)

In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone) | Text CONNECT to 686868 | live chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre

If you're worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them about it, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs: 

  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Purposelessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Anger.
  • Recklessness.
  • Mood changes.