13 Reasons Why I Dislike the Show “13 Reasons Why”:
1. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has specific guidelines on how to safely portray suicide without inadvertently causing more deaths, and the series blatantly disregards those guidelines in graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists. This could literally result in more deaths by suicide, which is NOT OKAY.
2. It glorifies suicide by making it seem like killing oneself and leaving tapes/a note/etc is the only way to effectively send a message to the world, when in fact, the opposite is true – the most effective way to send a message is to survive, thrive and tell one’s story.
3. It simplifies suicide by making it seem like it is a direct result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when in reality the issue is far more complex.
4. It conveys other characters as unhelpful and unsupportive when Hannah tries to reach out, which could discourage viewers from seeking help themselves.
5. It does not effectively address the subject of mental illness, which is a major component in the issue of suicide.
6. Hannah essentially blames others for her death, when in reality suicide is a choice made by those who commit it. Yes, things such as bullying and sexual assault can be a main factor in suicidal ideation and mental illness, but the decision to commit suicide is solely in the hands of the individual.
7. One of the characters justifies her self harm by saying “it’s what you do instead of killing yourself”, which simplifies and glorifies self harm by making it seem like a good “compromise” instead of suicide.
8. The show provides no resources for those struggling with similar issues to Hannah, which again goes against the specific guidelines of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is not that hard to do research and find these guidelines, so it is clear that the creators of the show had little to no interest in taking advice from professionals or considering the potential negative impact they could have, which is honestly just disgusting.
9. The school counselor Hannah speaks to brushes off the clear signs of her being a suicide risk, which is literally against the law and not something any qualified professional would do.
10. It is highly offensive to many people struggling with mental illness and suicidal ideation because it never really delves into Hannah’s character, or portrays her as having mental illness (a major factor in most suicides) – it just makes her seem dramatic and attention-seeking, which perpetuates stereotypes.
11. It does not offer a healthy solution or way of coping with traumas such as bullying and assault – the only “solution” it offers is suicide, which, as mentioned previously, the show glamorizes and simplifies.
12. Hannah makes other people like Clay feel irreparably guilty for her death, which is cruel and inconsiderate, and not something most people who commit suicide would actually do. The show treats suicide as “the perfect revenge”, when in reality suicide is about feeling hopeless and sad and is a very personal decision.
13. As someone who has personally attempted suicide and knows the stories of countless others who have, I do not feel that the show accurately and fairly portrays the issue, or adequately addresses the main factors in suicide. To me and many others I have spoken to, it is downright offensive, lacking in research, and overall poorly done.
And that’s all I have to say about that.