13 Reasons Why and mental health

Kaleigh Hamm, Student Writer



Everyone is familiar with the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, but opinions remain controversial regarding the scenes aired on screen. Although there are trigger warnings posted before each episode begins, most viewers ignore the advisory message and still press play. The series, targeted at teens, follows the story of a girl by the name of Hannah Baker, who endures multitudes of bullying and harassment, eventually leading to her suicide. Across the span of thirteen episodes, there are clips involving traumatizing scenarios, including rape and suicide, shamelessly shown on the television.  Although the story line is supposed to showcase the dangers and negative effects of bullying, the glorified version prompted teens to become fascinated with the topic of suicide.

Based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher, Netflix filmed, produced, and released the series through their broadcasting network in late March of last year. Since then, there has been backlash regarding the content of the series and few cases of suicide due to the ill effects of the scenes showcased. According to the National Post, there was a significant rise in Google searches regarding suicide three weeks after the episodes were broadcasted. Schools and parents were not a fan of the vulgar presentation Netflix gave, prompting the book to be banned from libraries and guardians to prohibit their children from watching the series at home. However, some positive effects have resulted from the show’s release. Discussions were started regarding mental health and the importance of bullying prevention among teens and even some schools.

Mental health in teens and young adults has been a growing concern throughout the past few years; therefore, discussion inspired by the traumatizing scenes helps to bring awareness to real life problems regarding mental health issues.