"13 Reasons Why" is Not the Mental Health Representation We Deserve
Entertainment

"13 Reasons Why" is Not the Mental Health Representation We Deserve

It is a misrepresentation of reality for the sake of popularity and shock factor.

323

There are generally two ways the general public looks at self-harm and suicide. The first is bad. The first is the stigma that people who self-harm are crazy, attention-seekers. The second is worse. The second is the romanticization of self-harm and suicide, making it seem beautiful.

Somehow, 13 Reasons Why is both, and more.

There are so many reasons this series is trash for the mental health community. The message of discouragement it sends to struggling teens that might be watching is disgusting. Decisions made by the director, Nic Sheff, might have a horrible, long lasting impact on the mentally ill youth.

Let's start with the obvious: Hannah's suicide.

I couldn't watch the scene. I closed my eyes and my laptop and I cried. For someone who has struggled with suicidal ideation, it was impossible to watch all the way through. I almost vomited. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has guidelines for what a show or movie can include when it comes to the portrayal of a suicide. Nic Sheff completely disregarded all of them. He sacrificed the potential life of a child watching this show for artistic integrity.

I know Sheff's reasoning for showing Hannah's suicide. He had a, as he called it, "dark past" that included a suicide attempt. And, to be blunt, that does not make him an expert. That does not make it okay for him to ignore professionals and experts because he wanted his show to have a shock factor. What he doesn't understand is that Hannah's suicide is almost an instructional guide on how to kill yourself. I know Sheff's reasoning, I just don't understand it.

Moving on.

The main character, Hannah, tried to get help. She tried, and she did not get any. She even went to the school counselor for help, and he blatantly ignored her suicidal statements. No trained professional would do this. They not only would lose their job but they could get jail time. It completely discourages anyone who might be having suicidal thoughts from reaching out for help.

Additionally, at no point in the series does anyone discuss mental health or mental illness. Of course Hannah Baker had mental illness. A neurotypical person would not commit suicide, despite any bullying they might endure. Of course, one can develop a mental illness, like maybe Hannah did. But it was never discusses in the series. Another thing that was never discusses is solutions that aren't suicide. Hannah Baker should have gotten help and she should have been hospitalized. But there are so many ways to get help. With the school doing all of the anti-suicide campaigning after Hannah's death, you would think they include at least one suicide hotline or something. But no. Nothing. The way the series goes, the only way to send a message and end suffering is to die, which is not in the least bit true.

And Nic Sheff and the cast of 13 Reasons Why have the audacity to say it gives people who "identify with Hannah Baker" hope.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments