13 Reasons Why Netflix teen drama series is trending everywhere around the world ever since its broadcast in March 2017. It would be a lie to say that our Snapchat Stories weren’t filled with its opening sequence. The Show was based on the 2017 Book by the same name written by Jay Asher and was known to be the American Best-selling book. Post-release, the show had received an overwhelming response, however, it didn’t go down well with the Psychologists, Suicide preventers and other mental health experts. Following are the reasons as to why 13 Reasons Why, the hyped show didn’t really live up to the fame it received.
The Unrealistic Approach
The Main Idea of the Book/Movie seems highly unrealistic. No person who is suicidal has the stamina to take such a step of recording tapes for their so-called blamers. It looked more like a planned series of the events rather than an extreme step.
Glorification of Suicide in 13 Reasons Why
The Show seemed to go with the simple line that: Be nice to people because you never know what they might be dealing with. Or, more troublingly: Be nice to people, or they might make you regret it. The show has been accused of glorifying suicide on many levels. Post its release there have been cases of people imitating her way of death by leaving behind tapes for people who they accuse are to be blamed for such an extreme step. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and others, the risk of additional suicides increases when a story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic or graphic headlines or images, and when repeated coverage of that story sensationalizes or glamorizes a death.
This seemed to be one of the major concerns amongst the psychologists and educators regarding the increase in suicide attempts the glorification would cause. Coming to the aspect of creating awareness about the topic, Dr. Dan Reidenberg, the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education had said that he disagreed with the argument that simply broaching the topic in popular culture is enough.
The Book Clearly stated that Hannah committed suicide by taking pills as she wanted to resort to a less painful death. However, in the book, there was a completely unnecessary and highly graphical scene of her being found in a pool of blood in the bathtub. Also, the creators would have been better off having Jessica and Hannah describe their rape and how they felt about it using their words rather than putting those horrific scenes on film. Everyone gets the point without needing to see it. And those of us who have lived it does not need to relive it through someone else’s experience.
Showcasing Suicide as normal
This series somehow subtly showed that there truly are no solutions anywhere in the world to the issues you face when you’re suicidal. It reaffirmed this very strong sense that when you feel suicidal, the only option is suicide. And that there are truly no other solutions available. The amount of attention and fame Hannah gets to post her death seemed like an easy option for teenagers going through mental issues. It also mildly advanced the misconception that suicide can help you to reach out to people understand your perspective who earlier didn’t. Accounting others for the suicide seemed like an easy way out. However, except a few characters who truly were portrayed evil, no one can push you to your limits of committing suicide and that holding others accountable for taking your own life cannot be considered as a legit excuse.
There have been various reports of the second season of the show coming out. This can be a golden opportunity for producers and writers to address the concerns mental health professionals, suicide prevention advocates, and educators, have about this show. By counting on health professionals the show can shift from the dangerous and provocative to the teachable and the factual. And then save lives.