The series is a screen adaptation of author Jay Asher’s 2007 fictional novel. “Th1rteen R3asons Why,” revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen, and his friend, Hannah Baker, who ultimately takes her own life by suicide after experiencing a series of humiliating and horrific circumstances, at the hands of a circle of high school peers.
Prior to her suicide, Hannah makes thirteen cassette tapes detailing the thirteen circumstances and individuals that ultimately led her to the decision to take her own life.
Why would Brian and ABCNews be interested in my opinion of the series? I’m guessing it had something to do with the fact when I was eighteen and a senior in high school, I attempted to take my own life by suicide. So, I kind of have an idea what it’s like to be in a place so dark, cold and hopeless that suicide seems like the only option.
I do feel the series contributes to the glamorization of suicide and what I consider to be, “suicide pop culture.” When I say glamorize, I don’t mean in a pretty or romantic way because I don’t believe Hollywood, news media, or even social media outlets attempt to glamorize suicide in that specific way.
What they do though, is present the possibility of a temporary spotlight during news coverage, or attention on social media, or in this case, a Netflix series, about your decision to take your life by suicide.
Even though I wasn’t a stranger to all the hype, buzz and controversy surrounding the series, I had made the decision early on that I would not watch, “Th1rteen R3asons Why.” But when I got a call about the ABC interview, I decided to binge watch all thirteen episodes in one night, which kept me up until about 3:30am. After watching the entire series, I was even more convinced it could possibly do more damage than good.
While the Netflix series has the potential to expose parents, teachers, counselors and educational facilitators to the struggles teenagers are faced with in school and social circles; I don’t believe graphic scenes of rape and suicide are needed to open the lines of communication for anyone about the irreversible and permanent results of suicide, and the impact it has on those left behind. What I would rather have seen, was a series titled, “Thirteen Reason Why Not.”
Given the opportunity, each one of us could easily find way more than just thirteen reasons why we could take our own lives because life isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t fair. But what we need to do, is focus on all the reasons why we shouldn’t take our own lives. If you ask me, there’s really only one reason each of us has for choosing life and not suicide.
What’s the reason? It’s a quite simple reason.
Walk away from this article right now and go look in the mirror. That’s the only reason you’ll ever need to never choose suicide because “You will always Matter!”