Earlier this year, the mini-series Thirteen Reasons Why became available to stream on Netflix. Popularity for the show rose exponentially as more and more people watched it. The internet was full of mixed reviews, and my friends gave me conflicting opinions on it as well. I had no intention of watching the show, as I had read the book last year and hated it for several reasons. However, I found myself stuck in a position of having an opinion on a show I had not yet seen, and I decided to watch it only so that I could fully understand what people were talking about and what exactly was represented onscreen.
I began taking notes right from the start, because I knew how the story played out and I wanted to see how it would look onscreen. From my reading of the book, my understanding was that the author had actually no idea what depression looked or felt like, and wrote a book on a very inaccurate concept of it. In the book, the character of Hannah was not depressed but vengeful and malicious. I found it harder and harder to find sympathy for her as she told her story — not because of her struggles, which I knew for a fact were completely valid, but because of the way she spoke. She was angry, not clinically depressed. She was carrying out a revenge plot to make other people miserable. A depressed person would not act in this way; a suicidal person would not explain in that much detail, if they really wanted to kill themselves, they would just kill themselves, and not make a whole event of it.
So. Even before I began the show, what caught me extremely off guard was its theme song. It was oddly upbeat and happy sounding. That was already a bad sign. If this show was to be anything, it was not to be a happy show. It should not have been as popular as it was for a drama series, a murder-mystery type story where the viewer becomes more and more engaged in what happens next rather than the serious mental health issues that should have been addressed (which, by the way, was not in either the book or show). I went into the show with the mind frame of a critic, as a mental health advocate, and as a person with anxiety and depression hoping for some realistic representation in a popular work for once.
Below are the notes I took.
- She took the time to colour pretty pictures on the tapes.
Hannah Baker, a girl about to kill herself, feeling hopeless and alone, took the time to draw and colour on the tapes within which she describes why she is about to kill herself. Okay.
Hannah makes rules for listening to her tapes. She makes it a game. This is not just an explanation of why she kills herself. No, this is a manipulative game designed to mess with the recipients’ heads.
- “Or will I?”
Is she seriously making jokes right now? Is she honestly doing that? She is — supposedly — about to kill herself, and she’s making jokes and messing with the listener. This is not at all how someone would act if they were truly depressed.
- “You’re being watched.”
Yet another example of how maliciously manipulative Hannah is being.
- “I just said Hannah Baker is….can’t say that anymore.”
More jokes. You can’t be serious.
- “Pardon me, but you really hurt my feelings.”
She seemed to have no problem saying this to Clay in the flashback. This scene was very contradictory to the fact that she seemed to think that she was absolutely helpless in this situation. I don’t understand why she could not have just told Alex this as easily as she told Clay.
- “Are you having fun?”
I almost shut my laptop off when Hannah said this. I’ll say it again: revenge plot.
- “Maybe you didn’t do anything at all, and maybe you should have. Too late.”
Hannah is literally messing with each of the listeners. She is giving Clay really serious anxiety (something the show barely touches on from a medical perspective, by the way) and is not only giving him paranoia but making each and every listener feel personally responsible for her death when in fact they aren’t.
- “Oh and by the way, I’m still dead.”
There are several ways she could have narrated her tapes to make it more realistic but this was getting extremely out of hand. She continues to speak with an arrogance, like she is the authority, like she’s Gossip Girl or “A” — not a girl suffering from severe depression.
- Clay’s starting to hallucinate.
Great. Hannah has caused this poor boy to hallucinate from his anxiety. The worst part is that he did not even do anything wrong. Hannah is punishing him, and mentally abusing him from the grave, and it is far from fair of her to do this to any of the recipients, let alone the boy she supposedly loved.
- “Feeling paranoid? On edge? Yeah. High school does that to a person.”
She’s just making others feel the way she did. She’s not explaining; she’s on a mission to exact revenge.
- “It’s all part of a game. But remember it’s not a game. Not at all.”
Hannah, you’re making it a game, you manipulative bitch.
- “We all went our separate ways, or so I thought.”
We all lose friends. I’ve lost several friends over time and do you see me making tapes? No.
- She sets her expectations of Clay really high.
I don’t know who Hannah thinks Clay is, but she expects him to be a lot more than he actually is. She sees him as this nice boy and, from what I’ve gathered, therefore expects him to be an absolutely perfect specimen, which is a ridiculous expectation to set for somebody — whether that be as a friend, co-worker, or crush.
- “She needed it to be my fault.”
This line was particularly powerful. For some, it made Jess seem cold-hearted, which Hannah was very much trying to portray. For me, it made absolutely perfect sense: Hannah was hurting and needed somewhere to place it. The entire ordeal with the tapes is Hannah placing the blame on anyone other than herself. Jess understood that.
- “She’s the one who stopped coming and she knew it.”
I like that they’re putting doubt into what Hannah’s truth is; it is important to remember that we are only hearing Hannah’s side of the story. One aspect of the show I very much did appreciate was the backstories of each character, and their role in the story as more than a Reason. They were human beings, too, equally affected by the tapes. They had their own truths, and sometimes that contradicted with Hannah’s truths. This allowed the audience to second-guess how each situation went down, and it let them understand that even though you might experience a situation one way, that might not be how another person experienced it.
- “I can’t listen to her voice without seeing her,” “Seems like that was the idea.”
Even some of the recipients of the tapes understood that she was out for a revenge plot. They understood that she was trying to manipulate them and mess with their heads.
- They give Justinn a bad home life.
Back to the aspect of giving the other recipients backstories to make them human beings instead of Reasons™ — I appreciate that they showed Justin’s home life on screen. Some people I talked to have believed that they showed it as more of an excuse for Justin’s behaviour and that it was trying to pardon him for his actions… but that’s not what I believe its purpose to be. I feel that by showing Justin’s backstory, it brings up the timeless trope of a kid burdened by his awful home life and therefore taking it out on kids at school. It is a way to bring into the subtext the message that you can rise above whatever you’re dealing with at home, or at least not allow it to influence your actions into doing something bad. The show humanizes the recipients of the tapes and although that does not in any way make any excuses for them (although in some cases it serves as a very strong argument) it shows viewers that we are all indeed human and will make mistakes and will screw up. Nobody is perfect, and expecting such out of everyone is a very high standard to set.
- “Here’s the thing: you’ve never been a girl.”
If this show accomplishes anything, it accomplishes portraying how ignorant comments and “compliments” boys affect girls emotionally. The list Hannah was added on, in the end, was the main reason for most of the events that occurred. Because of the list, Hannah was seen as nothing more than an object, a “hot girl” to score. Clay, being a boy, saw it as a compliment, completely unaware of the effect it can have on those involved.
- “Once again, you and the point are complete strangers.”
Instead of calmly explaining to Clay the problems with what happened, Hannah instead supplies him with a sarcastic remark and a dramatic storm-off. She failed to realize that she too had part in all of this, that she failed to help herself. This is one of those situations. She becomes extremely irritated with each of Clay’s actions but not once does anything to explain to him her side of the story (well, until the tapes, which was of course by then way too late — which is the point, really).
- “We all killed Hannah Baker.”
In a way, Clay is right. But in several other ways, he is far from it. The problem with Hannah’s tapes is that she blames everyone around her but never looks at her role in the story. In the end, she made the final decision to kill herself. Nobody else made that decision for her. She can point fingers and record tapes and make everyone else’s lives a living hell, but that does not change the fact that in the end, it was her own decision. The recipients of the tapes of course had a great deal of effect on Hannah’s life, some much, much more than others, but in the end, they did not kill her. She killed herself. Clay has become wrapped up in the tapes and is quick to point the blame (even before he was done the tapes, might I add) where Hannah did because he loved her, but never once stopped to think that maybe — just maybe — there was more to it than that.
- “You want storm clouds, Alex? You want thunder?”
I keep repeating myself, but this is a revenge plot. This is the voice of someone trying to get even. This is the voice of someone acting out of anger. The way Hannah tells her narrative almost makes it seem that she killed herself to make a point out of it, a final “fuck you” to everyone around her because she couldn’t bring herself to do it while alive. She not only addressed these tapes to the people around her, blaming them for her death, but completely manipulates them in an aggressive, hostile way. If anyone should understand the power of words, it would be Hannah Baker. But here she is, acting in the same way others had towards her.
- “You made it open season on Hannah Baker.”
This line hit the mark. Guys who watched the show will most likely deny the credibility of this, but she was absolutely right about the list. Once something like that becomes public, once it’s been read by anyone, you can’t think of any of those people another way again. Every girl on that list was now a target for boys to think it okay to make sexual advances towards. They were now a name on a list. They were the best lips, best face; not the voice behind them. These girls were all reduced to objects. That was the issue of the list. I’m very appreciative that the show got something right.
- “Be careful, and don’t get caught.”
This isn’t a scavenger hunt. This isn’t a game, Hannah. Stop sending people on wild goose chases. Don’t order them around like you have any authority over them. Hannah is acting like she is better than everyone listening, and feels like she can get away with it because she’ll be dead soon.
- “Leaving those tapes, that’s a fucked up thing to do. No one deserves that.”
Finally, someone said it.
- “The overarching lesson is that actions have consequences.”
It had to be said, even though it was already pretty obvious. But that is one thing that the show did get across to viewers: actions have consequences, and you never know what your actions can do to someone. There is minimal mention of mental health in the show, but it is important to remember that a person with depression experiences things very differently than a person with anxiety, and they experience things differently than a neurotypical person. It is important to consider the feelings of others when you interact with them.
- Her mother doesn’t know why her own daughter killed herself.
The fact that Hannah took the time to record thirteen tapes to blame everyone for her issues but did not even take the time to tell her own parents why she killed herself is yet another reason why I believe Hannah to be carrying out nothing more than a revenge plot. Her mother deserved better than that. Hannah poured out her issues onto those tapes and gave every recipient the gritty details but didn’t bother to tell her own mother — with whom she had a very close relationship with onscreen — why she did it. REVENGE. PLOT.
- “But I can make you understand how it felt.”
I’m sure making people understand how things feel would be alright, but Hannah is actually making these kids anxious, paranoid, and scared. If these emotions were enough to make Hannah kill herself, why would she even consider putting those emotions onto somebody else? Where is her empathy? Is she really just that angry at everyone that she doesn’t care whether they live or die after she’s dead? Does she want them to understand or to die?
The picture Clay took was ok to send to Tyler, to make a point. He should not have sent it to everyone else. Clay is tied up in a whirlwind of emotions and is trying to find his own justice for Hannah, but he’s not realizing that he’s making the same mistakes that everyone else did to cause Hannah her issues. The point of the tapes were to let people know about how each action has a consequence, and Clay completely disregarded all of it just to get his own revenge.
- The way Hannah talks down to absolutely everyone is just sick.
I didn’t have a quote for this one. I just made note of her general tone of voice and choice of words. Hannah thinks that she did absolutely nothing wrong and that she is So Much Better than absolutely everyone.
- I like that they have the others conversing about stuff.
The other recipients of the tapes are becoming more and more active as characters in the story. They are becoming incredibly humanized, and by adding to the story by showing how the tapes have affected them too brings in a lot more than the book’s one-sided point of view. Each of the characters reacted differently depending on what they were blamed for or guilty of, which goes to further emphasize the differences between each human being and their individual interpretations of a situation.
- “You ignored me for weeks.”
I literally wrote “boo hoo.” I’ve lost friends. Everyone has. You get over it. Dwelling on it will not do any good, and Courtney is kind of a bitch anyway, so why mope over the fact that you lost her as a friend after one day of hanging out?
- “I had to do something.”
“Something” is denying the truth, “something” is a little white lie to protect both of you. “Something” is not completely trashing Hannah’s name and reputation just to protect your own ass, Courtney. “I’m not your shield,” Hannah retorts later. She’s absolutely right. You can have your own issues, but don’t drag others down because of it. Unfortunately, Hannah forgets all of this when she goes to record the tapes.
- I like this whole lawsuit thing. It really puts the school’s position into perspective.
The school has the biggest influence on a child with mental illness. Ignorance is just as bad as refusal to help, or insufficient help. Mental illness is a widespread issue in high schools across Canada and the United States, and too many high schools lack the necessary materials to appropriately help students struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders.
- The school is just avoiding any kind of responsibility.
As a school, it is a tough truth to face, that you might have a part to play in the death — suicide or otherwise — of a student. Denial is definitely the first reaction. Except here, the school is adamant that it had nothing to do with it. You can already tell by the close-ups on the counsellor’s face that he knows something, and yet he still won’t speak up, even after a girl has died. This is important to take notice of, because it happens all the time. Schools don’t make much effort towards mental health until a crisis has already occurred. Then there’s the grieving period, where counsellors come into the school and everyone is on high alert. But what happened before, and what happens after? Bringing more counsellors in before a girl killed herself might have kept her from doing so. Keeping counsellors after — not just for the week, but permanently — will help other students with their struggles. Having just one counsellor at a school is incredibly unfair to students, especially if that counsellor is a man and is treating young women. Later, we see exactly how that affected Hannah, and how harmful it can be.
- “Lives could be ruined,” “Seems like lives have already been ruined, don’t you think?”
It was really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that some recipients of the tapes were completely adamant on continuing to hide the truth instead of facing it head on. Hannah’s intention was for them to realize what they had done, and some still refused to own up to it to save their own asses. Maybe they should have thought about what they were doing before they did them — which, really, is the moral of the whole story.
- “I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.”
Another line vital to the overarching message of this show. Despite everything Hannah was going through, she never once talked about her issues until she recorded the tapes. Even later, in the counsellor’s office, she was reluctant to talk. Talking about your problems is essential if you want to get better, to get any help. It might be hard, but it’s better than dealing with it in a self-harmful way, whether that be destructive coping habits or, in this case, suicide. Hannah’s refusal to talk to anyone was one of the major issues in the show. She was quick to point fingers but not once realized that perhaps she had also contributed. By not talking to anyone — her mother, Clay, even one single other counsellor or therapist (I thought it was almost lazy of Hannah to give up after just one counsellor) — she added to her struggle.
- “I am going to play mind games with you.”
I literally cannot stress this enough. This is hostile behaviour. This is mental abuse. The way Hannah is toying with the listeners is immature and malicious.
- “You should’ve let it go. But you didn’t let it go.”
Real words Hannah Baker said. And yet
- “I have this theory that you’re lonely too.”
So why are you attacking this poor boy?
- The questionnaire had only two options.
This is the problem with how neurotypicals think. Good and bad. Happy and sad. Yes or no. There’s never an in-between or a further extreme. Any questionnaire I have received with a focus on my mental illness has provided me a spectrum, and even sometimes that has not given me enough to adequately explain how I was feeling. How can someone sum it up with only two options?
Most of my notes for episode 8 were reiterations of points I have already made, so let’s continue.
- Clay continues to refuse to listen to the tapes.
I partially understand why Clay no longer wants to listen to the tapes. Hannah is being incredibly malicious and the tapes are causing Clay hallucinations and severe anxiety. Of course he does not want to keep listening. In the books, he binges them in one night. Of course, that would not serve for an adequate plot for a television series, but I still found it frustrating that Clay won’t listen to all of the tapes but continues to try and exact revenge without all of the information.
- I’m still confused as to why they’re “protecting” Jessica.
How are you protecting someone who has been raped by not telling them that they were raped? Where is that logic? She had absolutely no idea that it happened, but you can tell she has suspected that something has happened. Justin won’t have sex with her, and won’t tell her why. His friends — and those who have listened to the tapes — won’t muster the courage to tell her. In no way will this behaviour save anyone. The truth is bound to slip out eventually, in one way or another, and by delaying that only makes the issue worse.
- I’m still not sure why this is a reason for Hannah to kill herself.
In this instance, Hannah was not the one who was raped. She did not tell anyone about it, yes, but rather than inform Jess or the police, even after a long time, her logical solution was to kill herself and let others deal with the problem. I don’t know where Hannah got this idea, but it is selfish and lazy for her to completely avoid the harsh truths of her life. Was that not the purpose of her tapes, to bring forth some harsh truths for the intended listeners? So why could she not face her own truths?
- So instead of telling the truth, she copped out.
I made it short and sweet here.
- “I couldn’t take knowing I’d made it worse.”
She was well aware that she hadn’t, at least from my perspective.
Episode 11 — Clay’s tape
- “She’s telling her truth.”
Very important to remember; Hannah is only giving us her facts, her perspective, her truths. As viewers, we can’t be 100% sure as to what really happened, because each scene is filmed from someone else’s point of view — never objectively.
- “Part of me was saying please don’t leave.”
And yet you screamed at him to “get the fuck out.” How dare you blame him. How dare you put any of this on Clay. From what we have seen in the flashbacks, you have become well aware that Clay can be oblivious of things, that he never sees the full picture. How can you expect him to understand that when someone is screaming at him to “get the fuck out” it actually means the complete opposite? This is all on you, Hannah. Clay did absolutely nothing wrong here.
- “It wasn’t you, it was me, and everything that’s happened to me.”
Alright, so at least she admits it.
- “Why didn’t you say this to me while I was alive?”
I know that this is one of Clay’s hallucinations of Hannah, but this goes to show how malicious and self-centred the Hannah on the tapes has become. Hannah said just as much to Clay as he did to her. She is equally responsible for their relationship to not have begun. Why didn’t Hannah say anything while she was alive?
- I cannot believe that Courtney defended Bryce’s credibility just to cover herself up.
Courtney, once again, has lied and deceived to cover up the sole fact that she is a lesbian. The first time, it ruined Hannah’s life. The second time, she literally is defending a rapist to save herself. It’s 2017, Courtney, nobody fucking cares if you’re gay. Hannah has killed herself and you are denying that Bryce raped both Jess and her. Get over yourself.
- “I started thinking about how much better everyone’s lives would be better without me.”
This is a common thought that goes through the heads of people who are depressed and/or suicidal. Except rarely do they imagine how much worse their lives could have become. Did you really think that your parents would be better off without their only child? Not once did you think about the serious effects these tapes would have on the recipients? You’re not the only one struggling through high school nor are you the only one affected by the words of others. Hannah lacked serious empathy throughout this entire show and I found it completely ridiculous. If she was hurting so much, why would she want anyone else to feel that way?
- “I decided that no one would ever hurt me again.”
You don’t get to decide that, Hannah. You don’t get to back away from the possibility of getting hurt. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Life is messy, and shit happens, but you don’t end it all just to avoid it. You can change so many other things in your life: you can change friend groups, or schools, you can report a rapist to the police, you can acquire proper therapy to deal with your problems. There are so many other options and half of me wants to blame the school for not providing proper information or services. The other half of me wants to blame Hannah for not seeking them out.
- This takes place in November 2017.
There’s a hidden message here. They could have picked any date, but this takes place in November of this year — several months in the future. The screenwriters are subtly telling us that these events could happen in the future, and can also be prevented. If any of the recipients of the tapes knew what Hannah told them before she killed herself, perhaps they could have: a) not done the thing to Hannah or to anyone else, b) apologized, or, c) attempted to prevent Hannah from committing suicide. If there is anything to learn from this show, it’s that actions have consequences. We need to be conscious of our actions and the potential scars they can leave on another human being.
- “I felt something shift… and for a minute I felt like maybe I could beat this. I decided to give life one more chance.”
This moment is incredibly powerful. This is a girl, who has been through hell, who is suffering from severe depression, who is finally trying to make things right. However, I hate that her one shot was with a school counsellor and not a trained professional. That was her fatal error in her story. Hannah finally sought out help (unfortunately, as a last-resort decision) but she went to a high school guidance counsellor. Of course, a high school counsellor should be adequately trained to deal with the issues of mental health, abuse, suicide, and the like. However, Hannah was literally on the verge of suicide — this meeting being the deciding factor on whether or not she would. If anything, she should have gone to a crisis clinic or something more adept to dealing with crises like hers.
- Did you notice any signs in Alex?
Over the course of the series, Alex showed more and more warning signs of suicide. Did everyone catch them? Or did his suicide at the end of the series come at a shock? If it did, you may need to change the way you watch television, because this show tried very hard to convey the message of watching out for these warning signs. I noticed almost right away, but that’s coming from years of experience of my own mental health issues and having friends who deal with similar problems. But if you didn’t notice Alex’s warning signs, what does that say about you?
Beyond the Reasons
- Jay Asher admits that Hannah Baker is not perfect.
This would have been useful to somehow integrate to both the book and the show. To prove that she was flawed, that she is not just a glorification of suicide.
- “Not shying away from the ugliness.”
There’s a reason why it’s dangerous to graphically show suicide on-screen.
- “We wanted it to be painful to watch.”
There’s a difference between making a scene painful to watch and making it completely triggering for a person who has gone through that experience. I’m now going to stop you before you think, “well if you’ve dealt with this and are unstable, then don’t watch the show.” This show was advertised as a way to deal with mental health and the issues surrounding it. It was advertised to help. It would seem appealing to someone with mental health issues, and they would perhaps hope it would help with their own issues, whatever that might be. Unfortunately, the show seriously misunderstood the brutal truths of reality, and missed the point by a long shot, and caused a lot of viewers a lot of emotional distress.
- Brian Yorkey described Hannah to be experiencing “something beyond depression.”
The more I think about it, the more I believe that Brian Yorkey has his heart in the right place but in no way actually understands depression or anything to do with mental health. His hit musical, Next to Normal, attempts to portray some brutal truths of families dealing with mental health issues, but — in my opinion, at least — only manages to vilify those with mental health issues, and making viewers/listeners only more depressed afterwards. The musical has some seriously catchy tunes but the focus is off. That’s the same issue with Thirteen Reasons Why; it’s an addictive, binge-worthy show — but for all the wrong reasons. It has become a murder mystery show. Lost is what should have been the main theme of the serious issues of mental health and suicide, and what becomes the frontrunner is the cliffhangers viewers are left on at the end of each episode. What happens next? What will Clay do? Is so-and-so telling the truth? The viewer pays more attention to the aftermath than what they can do themselves to prevent events such as these from happening in the real world. The show severely romanticizes suicide and mental illness. Instead of showing the “ugliness,” they only show the graphic scenes. They don’t delve into the inner thoughts of Hannah, the way her depression thwarted her thoughts. They show the physical ugliness, but even that only selectively. Did they show Hannah changing her habits — sleeping more, not showering, less energy? No. They only showed visually graphic content for shock value. Of course, these scenes did have an effect on viewers — rape victims were severely triggered, people with depression and suicidal thoughts began thinking about following suit. The show basically gave the message, “If you kill yourself but make everyone feel bad about it, you’ll get your revenge and the world will be a better place.” That’s what I got out of the show, which is extremely unfortunate. They missed a wonderful opportunity to teach society about the dangers and harsh realities of mental health and instead gave us another quick-binge teen drama.
Thirteen Reasons Why has been renewed for a second season. Half of the viewers are eager to see what happens next. The other half, the half I belong to, hopes desperately that the screenwriters and directors take this opportunity to finally make this series about mental health, and not a murder mystery. The backlash Thirteen Reasons Why has received from mental health advocates, counsellors, doctors, and viewers like me actually dealing with these issues will hopefully make the creative team behind the show to stop and rethink their directions, and backtrack a bit to improve on what they began, and continue to improve until we have something worthy of being dubbed as a realistic representation of mental health.
For further reading:
“CMHA is concerned that the series may glamorize suicide, and that some content may lead to distress in viewers, and, particularly, in younger viewers. The portrayal does not follow the media guidelines as set out by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) and the American Association of Suicidology.”
“The show is dangerous because it doesn’t offer any answers to a child that may be feeling hopeless.”
“Season 1 of this series did not have any input from mental health professionals or suicide prevention experts. Data has long shown that the way suicide is portrayed in the media can do enormous damage.”
“There is a great concern that I have … that young people are going to overidentify with Hannah in the series and we actually may see more suicides as a result of this television series,” executive director Dan Reidenberg told ABC News. He added, “I’ve heard from others that are really concerned because it’s so sensational and so graphic that they’re worried about the copycat effect of suicide.”
“People often commit suicide because they are unwell, not simply because people have been cruel to them,”
“Many people think that its graphic depiction of the issues could be triggering to those who struggle with depression, while others feel it glamorizes suicide.”
“The Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention recommends media outlets do not report specific details of the method, romanticize the act, use the word “suicide” in headlines or show photos of the person who died, in an attempt to prevent copycats. Netflix is not held to the same standards. If they were, they would have violated every guideline,”
“13 Reasons Why is essentially one long suicide note that makes it seem as though, by killing yourself, you and your problems will not be forgotten.”
“Hannah uses her suicide and the tapes to get revenge on, and gain control over, those who hurt and violated her. The tapes are like fuel for her power, boosting her posthumous status to become “the girl who completed suicide.” Hannah even calls out her guidance counsellor, Mr. Porter, for failing to help her find a reason to live—essentially blaming someone else for a decision that she ultimately made for herself.”
“This topic should not be taken lightly or exploited for entertainment purposes. We all need to be aware of how suicide can and should be talked about in a way that doesn’t raise anyone’s risk for increasing that already too-high statistic.”
“The show actually doesn’t present a viable alternative to suicide. The show doesn’t talk about mental illness or depression, doesn’t name those words. My thoughts about the series are that it’s probably done more harm than any good.”
“The show misses opportunities to highlight the importance of seeking help from trusted adults and mental health professionals and the critical role of hope and support in recovery. Furthermore, this series misses the opportunity to recognize that mental health treatment is very effective in helping youth cope with very painful emotions and experiences in safe and positive ways, and that even difficult problems can be solved.”