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13 Reasons Why You Should Find a New Show to Binge

Leah Cussen, Staff Writer

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Warning: This article includes mentions of suicide and rape.

At the end of March this year, Netflix released an original series called 13 Reasons Why, based on the novel by Jay Asher. It follows the story of high school student Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and subsequently has cassette tapes sent out to all of the people who she blames for her death. While the plot is undoubtedly interesting and theoretically, and the message a positive one, there are several problems with the show. Here is a list of thirteen reasons why you might want to find a new show to binge-watch.

  1. Mental health experts worry that the events portrayed in the show glorify the idea of suicide, especially in the heads of teenagers who are under constant pressure and stress.
  2. The show clearly focuses on the actions of others leading Hannah to kill herself, when in reality, much of the focus should be placed on her mental health.
  3. The show makes it clear that Hannah’s suicidal tendencies are a result of major troubles in her life. She was bullied, sexually harassed, and raped. These are obviously huge problems and can be very traumatic. The show, however, doesn’t expand on the idea that people can still feel what Hannah did without having experienced those things.
  4. The show makes it appear as if there are no other options. It shows Hannah indirectly seeking help from others, but not receiving it. It inaccurately portrays reality, in which many people would have been there to support her and help her through her difficult times.
  5. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advises against directly portraying suicide, as it could potentially encourage more people to want to give in to those tendencies. The show either was unaware of those guidelines or simply ignored them, since there were many graphic scenes, including one showing how Hannah killed herself.
  6. It does not seem to offer any other options or solutions to the problems Hannah was facing. This can be discouraging to the people experiencing the same problems, and make them feel alone and helpless.
  7. By sharing the tapes with all of the people who made Hannah feel the way she did, she makes them feel guilty for her death. The show almost treats suicide as a way to get revenge on the people who did her wrong, when in reality, it is a very personal decision made by those who feel that they have run out of options.
  8. Hannah does run out of options. While she does try to seek help in some ways, they are mostly indirect. She expects people to understand what she meant without actually saying those things. She does not confide in any of the people who truly would have been there for her, such as Clay, Tony, Jeff, or her parents.
  9. The show depicts Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking. This could be troublesome because it might make the people who see the show see others who feel like Hannah in that very same way. It is important to realize that people who are depressed and going through hard times are not dramatic; they are in pain and the only thing they are seeking is help and support, not attention.
  10. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of ten and twenty-four. The show uses very real, horrible experiences faced by teenagers every single day to sell a story.
  11. The show portrays Hannah’s guidance counselor, Mr. Porter, as unreliable and unhelpful. This could easily discourage students from seeking help from their counselors or social workers who, in reality, would provide help and advice on how to deal with certain situations.
  12. The television version of the story is more harmful than the book. This is because of the way society glorifies characters and their actors, as well as shares opinions and ideas about it through social media. Because everyone was in a frenzy about how much they loved the show, it encouraged more people to watch it.
  13. The way Netflix releases shows, all at once, inspires people to binge-watch it. This, however, can lead to people watching the show without really understand the plot. They only see it for its surface idea and can’t comprehend the real truths being displayed in the show.

One positive aspect of the show is that it has started a massive conversation about suicide and how to prevent it. If you are feeling lost and helpless, know that there is always a solution in life. You are never alone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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13 Reasons Why You Should Find a New Show to Binge