13 Reasons Why is dangerous to mental health


Hannah Holliday

Zero Reasons Why is a movement that started in Johnson County to combat the normalization of suicide. Unfortunately, suicide impacts everyone’s lives and it is important to know the facts to better understand and prevent it.

Hannah Holliday, Copy Editor

The well-known Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, should never have been created.

The book version of 13 Reasons Why, written by Jay Asher, came out on Oct 7, 2007, over ten years before the first season of the Netflix series was released. The book version does a fantastic job of portraying Hannah Baker’s internalization of her trauma and the slow lead-up to her death, while the Netflix series focuses on the attention she receives when she dies and how sorry everyone around her is, essentially glorifying suicide. The story also focuses on the “fact” that it was other people’s fault that she died, as evidenced by how the show portrays the tapes that Hannah recorded.

Victor Schwartz, medical director of the Jed Foundation, told NBC News that “the whole thing is an extended revenge fantasy.” Schwartz said the show is loaded with imagery and actions that could be considered harmful to young adults or children who could be dealing with suicidal thoughts.

After an outpouring of concern about the graphic nature of the show, Netflix added introductory videos to serve as trigger warnings, but was too late. While Netflix does not release viewer ratings, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of young people that might be triggered by the show had already watched at least the first season as they were added a year after it released.

Seasons two and three extend beyond the book’s plot unnecessarily. It is a painfully stretched out addition to a story that should have ended. While season two brings awareness to the injustices of the courts and the public education system, it often comes off as saying that the entire legal and education system is corrupt and does not deserve respect.

Season three, because apparently the writers have exhausted all of their suicide related materials, focuses on shootings, drugs, and ICE. While these are important issues, it feels isolated from the first two seasons which are focused mainly suicide and rape. Season three attempts to show why Bryce became an abuser and raped several girls but it instead comes off as making excuses for him. There is no excuse for rape, ever.

Out of this disaster, an amazing organization was founded in Johnson County: Zero Reasons Why. According to their website, they work to “affirm there are zero reasons why suicide is an option.” Visit zeroreasonswhy.org to find out more information and get involved.