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Is suicide depicted appropriately in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why?

Erin Meek and Sarah Donnelly

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YES: SARAH DONNELLY

The show 13 Reasons Why, released in March of 2017, is one of the first TV series that is fully based around suicide, and has recently become viral.

Raising discussion on suicide can be difficult, but it needs to be done in some type of way.

Any show that focuses on such a touchy topic will get interpreted in many different ways, many of which will be negative.

While there are many negative views on the show and the way it addresses the issue, it is a step in the right direction by starting conversation about the issue and portraying real life problems that many are too afraid to speak about.

Following a specific person on their life educates viewers on warning signs of suicide and makes people more aware of the impact of their words.

This topic of bullying is exemplified in the show by showing circumstances that happen in many people’s lives causing the show to be more relatable and leave a bigger impact on viewers, whether they have experienced this type of bullying or been the ones bullying others.

It is beneficial in the sense that it makes people aware of the harms of bullying and encourages people to stray from acting like characters in the show.

Many people say that the show should have offered help and didn’t, but the follow-up show titled Beyond the Reasons creates a deeper discussion on the topics addressed through the show.

This extension on 13 Reasons Why includes advice and help from mental professionals and discussion by the cast on hard hitting scenes.

This newly popular show created a thought provoking product, helping enact discussion on suicide which is a very prevalent problem today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO: ERIN MEEK

For the people who have seen 13 Reasons Why the ultimate message is clear: be kind to people, it could save a life. While this message in of itself is good, the way this production was executed did not properly highlight issues of mental illness and their relation to suicide.

For those unaware, 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix Original that highlights the life and death of Hannah Baker, a student who commits suicide in high school and releases 13 tapes for 13 classmates describing the reasons why she committed suicide.

While the shows focuses on uncomfortable topics that need to be discussed, it goes about it in the wrong way. Hannah’s suicide is simplified by focusing on bullying as the main cause and blaming peers for her own self-esteem and thought process. The idea of revenge suicide is dangerous, as it not only depicts suicide as a solution, but it puts the guilt on outside factors of Hannah’s life.

In addition the show has intense and graphic scenes, including a suicide and multiple rape scenes. The producers of this show stand by their decision, claiming that it would make viewers uncomfortable and start the conversation. However, sensitive viewers and individuals that are suicidal can become triggered by these scenes and become more inept to follow through with suicide.

In final thought, this show creates a false sense that Hannah’s suicide is there to teach a lesson to the people that hurt her, and after they have heard her story, she will be understood and liberated. The idea itself creates a dangerous environment for young teens and adults.

The show hit on hard topics, but did so in a way that was harmful to developing teens and adults

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The student news site of Sandpoint High School
POINT & COUNTERPOINT