The Netflix show 13 Reasons Why has become an increasingly hot topic of debate centered around the show’s complicated portrayal of suicide. The show covers important topics to discuss in todays world such as bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide. The series’ brutal depiction of the struggles of high school is raw and uncensored.
Here are 8 things to know about it before watching it or letting your child watch it:
1. The show is about the suicide of Hannah Baker, who committed suicide after experiencing various tragedies and bullying.
2. The show also focuses on Clay Jensen as he listens to 13 tapes Hannah Baker recorded detailing the reasons why she ended her life. As Hannah Baker narrates her downward spiral, Clay experiences fantasies of what he would have done differently, something the viewer will relate to.
3. It is based on the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I think the book is worth a read before watching the show, as the show’s plotline is based off the book.
4. By nature it is a show about depression, and therefore is not a “happy” thing to watch, it is meant to be uncomfortable and sad to watch. I couldn’t watch it in one sitting, and I recommend taking your time when watching the show; but the content is crucial to at least think about in today’s times.
5. The plotline romanticizes suicide as a way to teach people a lesson, because Hannah fantasizes about what will happen to those around her after she dies. It also portrays suicide as way to get revenge on those who have wronged someone.
6. It sends the message that it is difficult to receive help from adults or others. However, I did find the parents emotional responses to be particularly powerful in the show.
7. The show is a good provoker to have discussions about issues such as suicide, rape, and drug usage; and discuss with your child how to access resources to deal with these things.
8. The show’s strength is how it jars the viewers into discussing the tragedies of the events that Hannah Baker falls victim to, as well the other struggles of the characters.
This is a show I would not allow your child to watch by themselves, especially if they are vulnerable or have a history of mental health issues. 13 Reasons Why is a show much better suited to watch first yourself and then discuss the subject matter with your child or watch it together with your child and discuss it as you watch.
If you know someone who is struggling, Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.