Netflix cuts 13 Reasons Why's graphic suicide scene -- two years after release

The decision comes before season 3 arrives this summer.

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All 13 episodes of the first season of 13 Reasons Why were released in March 2017.

Beth Dubber/Netflix

Netflix has altered a controversial suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why more than two years after the teen series was released. The company says the decision was made on the advice of medical experts. 

"We've heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help -- often for the first time,"  Netflix  said in a statement Tuesday. "As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one."

13 Reasons Why is based on a 2007 novel by Jay Asher and follows a character named Clay as he listens to cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker that detail the reasons for her recent suicide and pin the blame for her decision on others, including friends and classmates. 

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All 13 episodes of the first season were released March 2017. A scene in the final episode of the season that showed Hannah killing herself sparked controversy and prompted Netflix to add more warnings to the series and episodes that contain graphic subject matter. The suicide scene has now been largely removed. Instead, viewers see Hannah crying in a mirror before killing herself and then her parents' reaction to her death. The Hollywood Reporter earlier reported on the altered scene.

Yorkey, the show's creator, said the original intent of the scene was to portray the "ugly, painful reality of suicide" so that "no one would ever wish to emulate it." But after talking with experts, he agreed with Netflix to edit the scene. 

"No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other," Yorkey said in a statement Tuesday. "We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers."

Digital copies of the series available for purchase on sites like Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and Vudu will also feature the altered scene.

Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is set for release this summer.

If you're struggling with negative thoughts or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.

You can also call these numbers:
US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 
UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123. 
AU: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14. 

Originally published July 16, 7:14 a.m. PT.
Update, 7:54 a.m.: Adds confirmation from Netflix and comment from show creator Brian Yorkey.
Update, July 17: Adds details about digital sales of the series.