When this show was first released, like everyone else, I binge-watched all 13 episodes immediately. As a huge fan of the book, I was surprised, but satisfied, with how they portrayed each event that Hannah described – though it was darker than the books, I found it to be extremely powerful and impactful.
Recently, I have come across multiple articles trashing the show for “glorifying suicide.” They suggest that such vivid portrayals are not only triggering, but only promotes the idea of death as a permanent solution to one’s problems.
If anything, I believe, these vivid portrayals of such sensitive subjects in the media are necessary. It is something that needs to be talked about – and not just suicide – things like homophobia, racism and sexual assaults, and their causes and effects are all things that need to be discussed in schools, communities and homes.
There is an oversensitivity in society nowadays, where everything needs to be politically correct. By advocating for the removal of these sensitive subjects from the media, we are simply pushing these issues further away from discussion. These are things that occur every day, and if we cannot even address the topics, and the raw and real aspects of such issues, how can we prevent these things from happening?
‘13 Reasons Why’ does not glorify suicide. Rather, it raises awareness of the issues surrounding bullying and depression. It includes the appropriate trigger warnings for graphic, but necessary, scenes. The scenes are confronting for a reason – they send a message across, and are extremely powerful representations of real life experiences.
It does not depict suicide as beautiful – Hannah’s death literally shows just how messy it all is. The show illustrates the devastation of the aftermath for her parents and her friends. Throughout the tapes, Hannah addresses how she could have been helped, and what caused her so much pain. These depictions send a message to anyone who has ever bullied or attacked someone else, and show the severe consequences that certain actions and words can cause.
Like all other powerful portrayals in the media, ’13 Reasons Why’ brings up sensitive subjects that need to be discussed openly in society. It does not glorify or promote suicide; it merely shows the reality surrounding such events. This realism, though confronting, is necessary to bring attention to these subjects, in order to start discussions on prevention.
Where to Get Help
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78