‘13 Reasons Why’ Makes A Statement on Mental Illness

A scene from the Netflix TV series, ‘13 Reasons Why.” Photo Courtesy / Netflix US & Canada

By Richard Mactough

Staff Writer

“13 Reasons Why” has become the most watched Netflix series according to The Huffington post. The series reflects on the suicide of Hannah Baker after being a victim of bullying and rape.The series adapted from Jay Asher’s novel reflects on the dark side of school culture.

It continues to receive unwarranted and extreme assertions of criticism.

“13 Reasons Why” makes viewers uncomfortable forgetting it is the entire point.  Baker leaves 13 tapes for each individual in some way she believes is responsible for her depression and sadness.

Serena Smith writing for The Tab describes the series as an insult to anyone with a mental illness.

For someone who deals with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, Smith’s approach that mental illness is only a collective experience and the same is an insult. Smith continues to say “Suicide is caused by mental illness, not bullying.”

It absolutely true that bullying is not a symptom nor can it be proven as a direct link to suicide. But to say bullying has no place in a young individual psyche is absolutely false and distasteful.I usually do not use such a phrase, but have you been living under a rock for twenty years? The news covers stories of young people killing themselves because of bullying all the time.

Recently, Smith Cotton High School was under protest by over 100 people located in Missouri. It was reported of the four deaths recorded at the beginning of January, three were suicides.The protest broke out because not  enough is being done about bullying at this particular school.

Smith, I respectively know it is an insult to parents and loved ones alike who deal with such a tragedy. To claim bullying is not a problem with one’s mental health.

Moving on from Smith’s article, many say the series and book glorifies suicide.

Watching the entire series, I knew Baker was dead as did the rest of the audience. The sad part about this entire series is the ending. I wish by the end she actually was not.

The graphic scene of her death is disturbing and makes the audience anxious. I give credit to the series for the success of the scene. In movies and television audiences are often dehumanizing the characters.

“13 Reasons Why” does great showing how much death and violence is real. The series is being used as a platform to create a conversation about bullying and a dark school culture.

Individuals say the show can often be a trigger for mentally ill individuals. I agree, but as someone who was uncomfortable and anxious towards the end, I needed it. Censoring the series would be a disservice and not eliminate the fact sexual assault and bullying are very existent.

The producers and writers made it clear they want to prevent more suicides from happening.

Glorifying suicide is not at all their goal.

Email Richard at:

rmactough@live.esu.edu

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