Why I Will Not Watch 13 Reasons Why
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Health and Wellness

Why I Will Not Watch 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why Could Actually Do More Harm Than Good

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Why I Will Not Watch 13 Reasons Why
Brett Mason Media

Since first airing on March 31, 2017, 13 Reasons Why has been praised for its portrayal of depression and suicide. Based off of the book of the same name, 13 Reasons Why is about a girl who commits suicide. She leaves behind thirteen tapes for thirteen people, each explaining why these people caused her to commit suicide. And that's the first problem.

You don't usually get a reason why someone commits suicide. But committing suicide is one's choice. Yes, there are factors that can increase suicidal tendencies, but in reality it's the person's own choice. The girl, Hannah, makes other people feel guilty for her death, when that's not someone who commits suicide does. Most people commit suicide because they feel as if they are a burden to others; in their depression, they think they are actually helping others by now becoming a "burden."

Mental health groups also advise against watching 13 Reasons Why. Australia's National Youth Mental Health Foundation are urging people to "be aware of the dangers and risks associated for children and young people who have been exposed." America's Suicide Awareness Voices of Education also stated that the show could do more harm than good, with executive director Dan Reidenberg adding, "There is a great concern that I have... that young people are going to overidentify with Hannah in the series and we actually may see more suicides as a result of this television series. The way things are portrayed in the media does have an effect on the way suicides can happen. This is particularly true for young people that are very vulnerable and at risk of suicide. When they're exposed to images that are really graphic, really sensational, and there is nothing balancing out for them... that they can get help and that treatment works and recovery is possible... we see them actually replaying what they've seen. The show actually doesn't present a viable alternative to suicide. The show doesn't talk about mental illness or depression, doesn't name those words." The show also has no trigger warnings, and has actually depicted scenes of self-harm, rape, and suicide.

13 Reasons Why also sends the message that if we're just kind to others, people won't commit suicide. People who commit suicide can be anyone. It can be a beloved celebrity, like Robin Williams, or just an ordinary teenager who has a loving family and good friends. Mental illness is the cause of suicide. The show is basically saying to people who know suicide victims that if you had done something differently, then your friend or relative or whoever would still be alive. And that's not always true.

AJ+ did an interview with a woman whose best friend committed suicide. She stated, "We need to be more open about talking about [suicide]. We need to be better at mental health. We need to be better at treatment and we're just not." People have a tendency to see mental illness as a taboo subject, and as someone who suffers from two mental illnesses (anxiety and depression), that's just not helpful. Talking and supporting is how we help. 13 Reasons Why, to me, is just portraying suicide as the result of bullying. It can probably help some people, but overall it has the risk of doing more harm than good.

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