Did you know that 13 Reasons Why was reviewed by suicide prevention experts before airing, and Netflix was advised to cancel the series?
13 Reasons Why is one of Netflix’s biggest and most popular drama series today, and it’s attracted a lot of positive and negative attention. Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 young adult book of the same title, 13 Reasons Why is a 13-part series on Netflix that follows the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of tapes explaining the reasons for her suicide.
The problems that 13 Reasons Why covers in its entirety, teen suicide, depressions, sexual harassment, and bullying, among others, are known to be very sensitive tropes in any form of media. This is why 13 Reasons Why has had its share of praises and criticisms because of the way the series handled and approached these taboo topics.
The author, the actors in the series, and a handful of people have already come to 13 Reasons Why‘s defense explaining the many reasons why the series is actually helping many victims cope with their problems and non-victims understand their plight. But in response to these claims, many psychiatrists and suicide prevention experts are not happy with how the series “glorifies” suicide.
Wet Paint reveals that, apparently, Netflix consulted with suicide prevention experts before the official release of 13 Reasons Why. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, told Syracuse in an interview that Netflix asked him to review 13 Reasons Why a month before it was released.
Reidenberg’s recommendation after watching 13 Reasons Why: Netflix should not proceed with the project.
Interesting, however, how Netflix went all the trouble of asking Reidenberg for guidance on the series when they told him that canceling the project “wasn’t an option” anyway.
But it looks like it’s already too late to cry over spilled milk at this point as 13 Reasons Why, reportedly, is already inspiring students to hurt themselves and leave suicide threats.
The Washington Post published the letter penned by Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert M. Avossa to parents of children studying in their school, explaining how students are using the series 13 Reasons Why as a reference for their behavior—and these are middle school students aged students as young as 10- to 15-years-old.
“As a father of a teenager and tween, I am very concerned about a dangerous trend we have observed in our schools in recent days. School District personnel have observed an increase in youth at-risk behavior at the elementary and middle school levels to include self-mutilation, threats of suicide, and multiple Baker Act incidents. Students involved in the recent incidents have articulated associations of their at-risk behavior to the 13Reasons Why Netflix series.”
And it’s not just in Palm Beach County. In other schools in other parts of the world, heads of the learning institutions are coming to parents to warn them about the effects of 13 Reasons Why on students’ behaviors.
The Inquisitr previously reported that Principal Azza Ghali of St. Vincent Elementary School, a Catholic school in Canada, has already advised parents to forbid students from discussing 13 Reasons Why in school as it exposes the children to “graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes.”
In response to these alarming behavior in many schools, Netflix spokesperson Brittany Whiteford, says in behalf of the company:
We’ve heard from our members that 13 Reasons Why has opened up a dialogue among parents, teens, schools and mental health advocates around the intense themes and difficult topics depicted in the show.
With this in mind, we gave the series a TV-MA rating, added explicit warnings on the three most graphic episodes, produced an after show, “Beyond the Reasons,” that delves deeper into some of the tougher topics portrayed, as well as created a global website (13reasonswhy.info) to help people find local mental health resources. Entertainment has always been the ultimate connector and we hope that 13 Reasons Why can serve as a catalyst for conversation.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), shows rated TV-MA are programs “intended to be viewed by mature, adult audiences and may be unsuitable for children under 17.” This, then, becomes an issue since more and more children, even way under 17, are watching 13 Reasons Why without parental guidance.
Reidenberg reveals that although 13 Reasons Why is supposed to be sparking a conversation about suicide, it’s not the right conversation. Suicide should never be seen as a choice.
“I hear kids all over saying, ‘The series portrayed my life.’ But it’s not their lives, and suicide is not some glamorous solution.”
More and more suicide prevention experts and mental health organizations are already issuing warnings against the “dangerous content” in 13 Reasons Why,Wet Paint reports. But whether Netflix decides to take action in creating stricter provisions in accessing the series, it’s the age of the internet anyway. Any content could be viewed and accessed by anyone with the right keyword search terms.
While 13 Reasons Why remains to be a subject of much debate and controversy, dialogue and help for people in distress is always accessible via these helplines.
- Community Service Suicide hotline: 315-251-0600
- National Suicide Prevention Online Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
[Featured Image by Netflix]