From Anne Moss: Allie is a senior in high school from Chapel Hill, NC who has struggled with managing mental illness and suicidal thoughts. Here’s what she said about the show, ’13 Reasons Why’ on Netflix. She and her mother have given permission for it to be posted here.
“At first I liked the show, I read the book a few times in middle school and I liked it then–when I was first really starting to struggle with mental illness.
As I began watching the show this week [April 9, 2017] I found myself starting to feel a lot darker than I had in a while, and I realized it had to do with watching the show. At first, I was very supportive of ’13 Reasons Why’ becoming a show because I’m a strong believer that mental illness and suicide needs to be talked about so much more in society and the stigma around it needs to be broken.
I’m still a firm believer in this, I just don’t believe this show is doing a good job of that anymore.
I know that a show cannot push someone to suicide, there are a million factors going into a persons decision to end their life and a teen Netflix series probably isn’t one. However I do believe if someone is already suicidal or extremely depressed, watching this show could be extremely detrimental to their physical and mental health as well their safety.
The show, in my opinion, perpetuates the idea that suicide is a way to get back at a world that has wronged you or hurt you. It doesn’t show any ways of seeking help when you’re feeling like the main character was, nor does it address mental illness at all, and the pining romance between the two main characters is also extremely risky in my opinion.
I don’t think anyone would think, “If I kill myself this boy/girl is gonna realize they’re in love with me and miss me forever.” But I do think depression and suicide can be romanticized and it’s happening in this show.
If this show is helpful or comforting to you I am not attacking you in any way. I’m happy it could help you. I just want to make it known that maybe you shouldn’t watch this show if you have or are currently struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. I’m sure I’m going to get backlash for this, but if I can help someone from triggering themselves then I’m okay with it.
Allie had another comment about the show on Facebook and she responded as such:
“I am supportive of your points but wouldn’t someone know it is about suicide so they would know it could influence them?”
“Yeah I totally see where you’re coming from, I think this show especially has a ton of hype around it right now and is almost presented as a show that would be ‘comforting’ to people who are going through similar things.
Suicide can be in movies and TV and be presented in a way that spreads knowledge and awareness to people, but this isn’t what it’s doing. I just wanted to make a post about it myself because I know that just because you know a show may have something that is triggering to you in it, doesn’t mean you won’t watch it anyway. We’re human and it might seem like it would be nice to watch something that relates to what you have struggled with when it can be really detrimental.
Also, I’m more upset about this show then say, American Horror Story, having a suicide as one part of a storyline because this entire series is centered around and about suicide and the messages that go with it.
They’re putting out a message that suicide is selfish, can be blamed on people, and they romanticize it as if it’s just another part of edgy teen culture you know? Those ideals they portray are harmful because people could be led to believe them who don’t struggle with mental illness or suicidal thoughts and it only helps further the stigma that surrounds these issues.”