Media and Youth Suicide: Reactions to Netflix's 13 Reasons Why

This is the official voice of mindyourmind on the mindf!#kblog.

In the past couple weeks the Internet has focused its attention on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Naturally, mindyourmind has been paying attention, given that the series, based on the wildly popular book of the same name, deals with youth suicide.

We’ve come across some really varying perspectives about the book and the series, and felt compelled to compile them here*:

*Please note that these blogs talk directly about suicide and might be upsetting for some. Take care of yourself. If you’re struggling please visit our Help Section.

From the blog JAILYN | GINGER, SNAPPED, How 13 Reasons Why Let Us All Down, by Janalynne

“I, too, was captivated and binge-watched the addictive drama. I’d been eagerly anticipating its release, hoping that it would generate extensive awareness and conversation. And it has. But it left something out...”

From The Mighty, penned by blogger Alyse Ruriani, 6 Reasons I'm Not a Fan of '13 Reasons Why'

“It is upsetting to see a suicide portrayed as the suicidal person wanting others to feel guilty, rather than focusing on the person’s emotions and thoughts...”

From mindyourmind.ca, penned by blogger Jenn (about the book), 13 Reasons Why

“I think that is what makes this book so amazing it doesn’t over dramatise bullying or use euphemisms for what happens to her. Instead what it shows is an honest representation of bullying and how devastating it can be for the victim while having little to no impact on the perpetrator...”

Also, Jenn’s follow-up blog about the Netflix series, A Reflection on "13 Reasons Why"

“The big thing that struck me was how much was added in for the show. The original story was just Clay listening to all 13 tapes in one night, following Hannah’s story around town and his internal reflections of the impact that the tapes have on him. When you see how much they added in [to the series], it’s hard not to notice the things that they choose not to add...”

From The Mighty, penned by blogger Samantha Dunn (about the book), As Someone Who Was Bullied, 'Thirteen Reasons Why' Was a Lifeline

“I helped people contact authorities, and I talked people off the ledge, because if there’s one thing you can take away from that story, it’s that you can always do something to help, and you always should. This isn’t a story of triumph. It’s not about how I felt, what others did to me or a hope for recognition. It’s hopefully some insight and understanding...”

If nothing else, 13 Reasons Why has prompted conversation. Having clear, honest and robust conversations about bullying, mental health, suicide and how media tackles these complicated and serious issues is a good thing.

Have you seen the series or read the book? What do you think?