New season of 13 Reasons Why prompts Mental Health Foundation to warn NZ parents

This article discusses teen suicide and may be distressing for some readers.

The Mental Health Foundation has launched a new tool to encourage parents to talk with their kids about suicide as season three of 13 Reasons Why is made available in New Zealand. 

Netflix's controversial teen drama, which features shocking rape scenes and is based around a central character's suicide, has caused concerns about the potentially negative impact on young viewers since it's debut in 2017. 

Earlier this year, producers edited out the infamous graphic suicide scene featured in season one that prompted copycat fears and was linked to multiple deaths. 

The streaming service cited advice from mental health professionals as the motivation for its eventual action.

Closer to home, Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said he hopes their new Connecting Through Kōrero resource will equip parents to guide their children through the sensitive subject matter. 

"We knew young people were talking to each other about suicide, but those conversations weren’t necessarily as safe and supportive as they could be," Robinson said in a statement. 

"We wanted to encourage adults to join the kōrero and talk with their young people about suicide and, critically, suicide prevention." 

The statement from the MHF said overseas research had found links between the first two series and subsequent increases in youth suicide numbers.

"We know portrayals of suicide, violence and bullying focusing on youth can have a negative impact on vulnerable young people. It's vital caregivers are as well prepared as they can be to step in and offer support and a listening ear." 

While some criticised the show for its handling of teen suicide, others hailed 13 Reasons Why as being a crucial component of bringing the taboo subject into the mainstream. 

Netflix has made its own resources available to viewers on a website called, in an attempt to educate and help anyone struggling with the themes raised in the show. 

The New Zealand Classification Office has given 13 Reasons Why an RP18 rating, meaning viewers under 18 must have a parent or guardian present while watching. 

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