5) The Glorification of Suicide
The first question I asked my teenagers was whether 13 Reasons Why glorifies the act of suicide. Although each of them insisted that the series doesn’t glorify the act of suicide, the more they described it the more I doubted their adolescent impressions. Admittedly, to a mentally and emotionally healthy adult the series does a great job of showing just how horrific death by suicide can be. However, for those who struggle with suicidal ideation, the show displays a way to grant a voice to those who feel they are unnoticed and unheard. It shows suicide as an escape from pain and promotes suicide as a vehicle for vengeance and fame (or infamy).
I do not mean to suggest that producers do not have a right to make a series like 13 Reasons Why. While mediums like Netflix have made entertainment more accessible and affordable than ever before, there is also a cost. There are no parental controls, no ticket attendant asking for ID, and nowhere in the home it can’t be viewed with a cell phone. I’m also not suggesting that those who see or enjoy 13 Reasons Why are suicidal. However, I would encourage parents and pastors to have a conversation about the subject matter and consider applying whatever filter your family uses for entertainment.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts make a confidential call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your call is handled with respect and confidentiality.