Does Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' romanticize suicide? | The Tylt

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Does Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' romanticize suicide?
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The show's critics say "13 Reasons Why," while meaning well, ultimately romanticizes suicide and could act as a trigger for those who are susceptible to suicidal thoughts. The show frames suicide as a way to resolve issues that does not reflect reality. Furthermore, studies have shown that graphic depictions of suicide could lead to increased rates of suicide by that method. 

Kristen Douglas, a spokesperson for Australian youth mental health organisation Headspace, told BuzzFeed that the framing device of Hannah’s “reasons” is harmful and unrealistic. “She’s telling the story in a way that means she’s getting resolution about her suicide, and that’s not a reality. If young people die by suicide it’s very final; you don’t get to see the reaction of people, you don’t get to see the reaction of bullies, you don’t get to be involved in your own funeral. Sadly, I think young people sometimes don’t always fully understand the finality of death. You don’t get resolution about that.”

Some on social media are calling for Netflix to take the show down entirely, saying it was well meaning, but ultimately does not serve the purpose it was intended to serve. 

The show's creators intended for the show to illustrate the reality behind suicide. In an open letter, the show's creator Brian Yorkey explained the show worked hard to consult with experts to portray the truth behind suicide. He frames the show as a "clear-eyed and honest" look at suicide and its impact on people and communities. 

We enlisted a group of medical and psychological experts to help us accurately portray these events, and to ensure we were being truthful to the 'how' and 'why' these kinds of things happen; and to show them in some measure of rigorous detail. We wanted to be sure we were serving these issues well, not being gratuitous, not being violent for the sake of being violent — but rather portraying these events in a way that would make their impact unmistakable, and hopefully further the dialogue around these issues in our culture.
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