The Netflix original TV show that came out last year, "13 Reasons Why, was supposed to bring awareness to suicide and mental illness, particularly among high school kids. It was supposed to be a source of encouragement for those who were struggling with these things and emphasize the negative effects of bullying and neglect in schools. It was supposed to help the problem.
Instead, it has only seemed to make matters worse. Suicides are not prevented by showing viewers in explicit and graphic ways to end a life. They are not prevented by filming a play-by-play of Hannah Baker's self-harm, her not-at-all constructive tapes sent to her friends accusing them of "making her do it", and the rest of the characters' experiences with bullying. These things, if anything, only cause negative emotions and thoughts in viewers' minds and do not offer any positive solutions to those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The sad part is, I didn't even have to watch any of the show to find these things out. They spill out, all over social media, all over news sites that feature stories of young teens committing suicide after watching this show, in my conversations with friends who were absolutely horrified with some of the graphic scenes in the show.
To the writers and producers of the show- If the goal of "13 Reasons Why" was JUST to raise awareness, then congratulations, you have done so. If it was to prevent bullying and suicides, however, you have tragically failed.
You say that you do not "recommend" that "vulnerable youth" watch this show, due to its explicit content and violent thematic elements. Let me just ask- who is going to watch it, then? People who DON'T deal with these things? People who are already out of high school and don't experience bullying or neglect on NEARLY the same level?
I'm sorry, but what's the point of that?
You are not helping anyone in the releasing of this show and you're only adding insult to injury by continuing to film more seasons.
You know very well that kids in middle and high school who struggle with thoughts of suicide and who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression are watching this and taking in every cut Hannah makes into her wrists, every verbal jab directed at her or other characters, every other scene featuring painful and cruel bullying that I won't describe in detail.
Please stop. Stop elevating suicide and bullying, stop providing teens with ways to inflict self-harm, stop trying to make money off of such a sensitive topic that you've officially butchered.
And for God's sake, offer your viewers some positivity.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255