Why 13 REASONS WHY Succeeds
Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 10:34AM
Ann Jacobus

The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why (based on the YA novel of the same title by Jay Asher), about 17 year-old high school student Hannah Anderson's suicide and the incriminating tapes she leaves behind, has received positive reviews but has also created significant controversy.

Criticisms include:

That the series fails to address the main character's mental health leading to her suicide;

That it shows a potentially triggering, graphic depiction of the suicide;

That the high school counselor character behaves/reacts unlike almost any counselor would;

That the story is also the ultimate revenge fantasy which is so NOT what most attempts are about. 

I agree with these points. So why do I think that overall the show is a net postive?

Because 13 Reasons Why handles a great deal of difficult subject matter very well. I'm DELIGHTED that it has everyone talking. Not just about suicidal contagion, bullying, sexual consent, sexual assault, and rape, but finally, about suicide and mental health.

Discuss the series with your teen pronto (they've already seen it)! And yes, vulnerable teens with a history of suicidality, depression, or trauma should skip it, same as they might want to skip any other film with graphic sexual or violent content.

Meanwhile, here's some important, timely info on teen suicide from the Mayo Clinic.

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