Selena Gomez’s new show, 13 Reasons Why, may intend to educate today’s youth and their parents about the ongoing issues with bullying and suicide, but unfortunately, the series has become concerning to many.
According to a CNN report this week, the new Netflix series, which follows the life of a teenage girl who leaves behind 13 cassette tapes after committing suicide, has caused quite the stir since premiering last month.
As the outlet revealed, suicide is the third leading causing of death among Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 and open conversations about the topic are healthy. However, some mental health experts fear 13 Reasons Why will pose health risks for certain people, including those with suicidal thoughts.
According to the report, many fear “suicide contagion,” which occurs when one is exposed to suicide through a family member, group of friends, or through the media and suffers from an increase in suicidal behaviors. As a 2013 report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal explained, a study among 12- to 13-year-old youth revealed that those exposed to a classmate’s suicide were five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The idea of “suicide contagion” is one of the leading concerns of mental health experts in regard to 13 Reasons Why.
“Research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide,” read a statement last month by the National Association of School Psychologists.
Despite the backlash, Selena Gomez has remained positive about her new series and continues to receive kind statements about the series and its message.
“Our show [13 Reasons Why] came out tonight and I couldn’t be more overwhelmed with pride and joy,” she wrote. “After 7 years of holding onto this book, I couldn’t of picked a better time for this message to exist. Jay Asher wrote a beautifully tragic, compelling story and we were lucky to have brought it to life. Thank you to every single soul that put their heart into this passion project.”
Selena Gomez bought the rights to Jay Asher’s book years ago with the intention of one day making a movie about the lead character, Hannah Baker’s story. Then, after Netflix showed interest in the story being turned into a show, Gomez moved forward as the executive producer.
Throughout the series’ creation, Selena Gomez has been focused on spreading education about mental health, which is an issue close to her heart. As fans of the singer and actress may recall, Gomez entered a treatment program in Tennessee last year after coming forward with her mental health struggles, including anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
In addition to being open with her own struggles, Selena Gomez had encouraged her lead actress to get active on social media.
“It was a bit of a big decision for me actually, because I wanted to be an actor purely for the acting work,” Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker, explained to The Last Magazine. “I have never been attracted to increasing my popularity or hireability by being on Instagram… I didn’t want to make myself a consumable product. I just wanted to be able to do my job and then disappear.”
“[Selena Gomez] pointed out that the show is targeting young adults like me and that [social media] is a good medium to talk directly with those who relate to my character, Hannah,” she revealed.
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]