Thousands of teens are watching (and binge-watching) the new Netflix original show 13 Reasons Why. This heart-wrenching story is extremely popular, earning itself an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, media is fascinated with underlying questions raised by the story: is this show glorifying suicide?
This new buzzing show is about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker. She leaves thirteen old-fashioned audio tapes behind for specifically thirteen people after she commits suicide, explaining in detail how each of these thirteen people were a reason for her death. She mails all thirteen tapes to person number one, and after they listen to all thirteen reasons, they pass all the tapes to person number 2 and so on.
Confused yet? Maybe you should just watch the show for yourself…or should you? Mental health professionals feel 13 Reasons Why is a dangerous fantasy that romanticizes suicide. The show portrays suicide as some sort of twisted way to get revenge on the people who wronged you in high school. The show does a good job of depicting how brutal high school bullying and drama can be, however fails to uncover an acceptable way of coping with it.
The show is in the spotlight right now not only for being a Netflix show that’s shattering ratings, but also for the accusation of misinterpreting the mental health disorders behind depression and suicide. In the show, Hannah is such a normal girl. She does normal high school things and gets upset about the same things any emotional teenage girl would. It does not seem like she is depressed or battling with any suicidal thoughts, which is why no one reached out to her. Her suicide leaves the school and her family heartbroken because they had no idea she needed help.
The whole show makes a drama out of a teenage suicide with intentions to bring awareness to high school bullying, but instead creates a new way for millions to see some sort of twisted way to get revenge on the people who wronged you in high school. Glamorizing suicide is the last thing our culture needs to be the next big craze.
P.S. If you need help or someone to talk to, please reach out to your family and friends. For more information, visit twloha.com.