“13 Reasons Why” you shouldn't support this series
This post contains sensitive content and detailed information about what is published in the series “13 Reasons Why.”
Negativity: In the book, and in the series, the female lead, Hannah Baker, is a very negative character. Throughout the plot she continues to point out all the bad things happening in her life, and she does not stop to think about the positive things that have happened to her.
Coping skills: Along with reason one, Baker does not show any positive coping skills to deal with her illness. You do not witness, or read about her going to therapy, taking medication, or Baker receiving support from her family. This can lead to other people to not reach out for help when feeling depressed or suicidal.
Blame: Baker accuses 13 people why she committed suicide and gets satisfaction out of it. When you listen to the first tape, you hear Baker explaining that she wants others to feel guilty for being a reason why she committed suicide. As this series is for a teen audience, I don’t believe you should promote blame as a way to cope with your issues.
Mental Illness: The series does not properly address mental illness even though the series is based on mental illness.
Sexual Assault: Harassment and sexual assault are a big part of Baker’s backstory. In episode 12, you witness Bryce, a popular jock who attends their school, assaulting Baker in a hot tub. Along with Baker, her friend Jessica is also assaulted by Bryce at a house party. Author Jay Asher tells Buzzfeed that his goal was to make people uncomfortable, so they would understand the pain. However, this very graphic scene has known to be too graphic for some audience members and can be triggering.
Asking for help: Baker rarely goes to trusted adults and talks with them about her feelings. For people who are struggling with a difficult situation in life, they often talk to a friend, family member, or a trusted adult. Yet, Baker does not do any of this and assumes what she thinks is right.
Guilt: The plot of the book and the series strongly shows Baker getting satisfaction from other people’s guilt. However, knocking down others to improve your own feelings is a negative way to cope with a difficult situation.
Entertainment: Branching off from reason number five, the plot is more entertainment based than awareness based. Because it does not accurately show what it's like to live with a mental illness, it does not allow it to be informational. This is not based on true events, nor is it based on a true story. A plot like this dealing with many serious topics should be informational, not entertaining.
Triggers: The storyline covers many sensitive topics and can be dangerous for those with mental illness to witness. The plot covers roughly four different topics someone could be triggered by: Bullying, sexual assault, depression, and suicide. If you have experienced one of these topics, then watching and/or reading the series could strongly trigger past emotions.
Seeking help: When Baker reaches out to her counselor, the counselor rejects Baker’s signs of depression. This is an unrealistic example of what would happen, as if you asked for help from a school counselor, you would receive help.
Making an impact: When Baker leaves the tapes for her peers to listen to, her goal is for them to listen and understand what she went through. However, suicide is not the correct outlet to make an impact, as anyone can make a difference or be vocal in their everyday life.
Suicide is a key part of what made the series step too far. In the last episode, you witness Baker's suicide which can be very triggering and possibly life threatening to those who suffer from depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
Awareness: For those who do not suffer from a mental illness, this poorly portrays what it's like to deal with one. For people who are depressed and/or suicidal, they often try outlets for help, and there are often warning signs that a close friend or family member will notice.
If you are feeling depressed, suicidal, etc, contact a school counselor or trusted adult for help.