Suicide: 13 Reasons Not To
by ju.pelletier on May 4, 2017 - 10:33pm
Carolin Touzin wrote an article entitled “ 13 Reasons Why: une série «dangereuse» pour les ados dépressifs”. It’s been over a month since 13 Reasons Why, a teen drama focused on a teenage girl’s suicide, made its debut on Netflix, but the discussion around the series does not seem to quiet down. In fact, many learning establishments and specialists in suicide prevention are worried that the show might present an alternative solution to anyone going through difficult times or even worsen the state mind of youth already in treatment for mental illnesses.
Touzin’s article is based on testimonies coming from a psychiatrist and some suicide prevention stakeholders who have watched the show. Of course, they consider the series is a danger to any teenager in distress since it contains very explicit scenes, such as sexual aggressions and suicide. In the last episode, the spectators can clearly see how the protagonist, Hannah Baker, takes her own life. According to Dre Johanne Renaud, a medical leader of the child psychiatry program at the university Institute in mental health Douglas, the risks of contagion for suffering teenagers are real and cannot be ignored. After watching a few episodes, Dre Renaud noted an increase of suicidal thoughts at the clinic, which only justifies her opinion. Moreover, specialists find that the biggest problem of this series is that it is only a very long compilation of failures, showing risk factors associated with suicide, such as intimidation, traumas and the lack of communication between adults and teenagers.
After realising that the series was the main discussion topic of teenagers, many schools got in touch with the AQPS (Association québécoise de prevention du suicide) for advice. Touzin’s article focuses on the fact that schools and parents must be alert and intervene in teens’ discussions by insisting on the fact that the series is a fiction, and that unlike what is depicted in the show, there are plenty of allies such as social intervenient present to help them if ever they needed the help.
Personally, for having watched 13 Reasons Why, I can confirm that it is moving. I do not deny that there is no heaviness in the show, but I do think the show plays a favour to anyone going through a similar life as Hannah Baker’s. I am aware that suicide is one of the main causes of death for youth. Not only is suicide a sensitive subject, but it is also scary and hard to talk about. The issue of suicide is an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but it happens, so people have to talk about it. In my opinion, the main goal of the show is to open up discussion and bring the issues to light, showing them in a real way. I actually thought the show might change people’s mind about taking their lives because of how it affects everyone that was close to the victim. In the show, both Hannah’s parents and friends are devastated by her loss, and they can barely move on with their lives because they blame themselves for her death. As a society, I think we tend to shy away from these hard topics. Therefore, I think the producers did the right thing showing how Hannah dies. It is in fact very painful to watch, but it shows that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide. In brief, this show sparks conversation between adults and their teenagers. At first, I thought the show was terrible for showing such explicit scenes, but after reflecting on it, I realised that these things happened every day to people everywhere across the globe. Real people go through what is portrayed in the show. Exposing the world to this reality and raising awareness about it is mandatory. In your opinion and according to your worldview, do you think the show is beneficial or not for people watching it?
Touzin, Caroline. " 13 Reasons Why: une série «dangereuse» pour les ados dépressifs", LaPresse, published April 25, 2017, http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/sante/201704/24/01-5091522-13-reasons-..., accessed May 1st, 2017.