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Controversially Netflix, produced a program that has taken a lot of bashing for its portrayal of suicide and its normalisation, called 13 Reasons Why. Suicide is a sensitive subject at the best of times; its rarely spoken about and if it is whispered about behind closed doors.
I agree that 13 reason why is a dramatised version of reality and yes in places it will be embellished for effect and possibly shock factor, though I will not condemn them for making a program that has managed to get people talking about mental health and suicide.
The Samaritans Suicide Report states that 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2014 and still as a society we are unable to prevent it, let alone deal with the stigma of mental health.
When someone takes their own life, they have lost all sense of reason and hope, they believe wrongly that they have no option, that the support they need isn’t there, IT IS!
13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons why is about a high school girl, Hannah! who ends her own life leaving behind 13 tape recordings about people who’s actions played a part in her decision to end her own life. It shows a severe side to what happens can happen within school, college and work environments from ignoring someone, lying, cheating, bullying to rape. Are we all naive enough to believe this doesn’t actually happen? and do we all believe that these things do not contribute to someone ending their life?
Although no one is to blame for someone committing suicide, there will be many people that will be:
- blaming themselves,
- believe they could have stopped them
- why didn’t they talk to me
The fact is, we can all say we would behave differently! That we have never bullied, misjudged, ignored or made someone feel small! Putting our own needs before someone else! Perhaps they even thought if only I had done this, stood up for the person, stepped in and even made time. People left behind will be often feel guilt.
The program display these within the 13 tapes! YES, none of the recipients of the tapes report them, or even look at gaining support! My thoughts to this would be because they are fearful about Blame and fear! Along with, do teenagers tell their parents everything? Or do they keep secrets that can be harmful to themselves or others?
I totally agree with Ged Flynn, the chief executive of Papyrus in his warning:
“parents and young people viewing the series should be aware that when watching this programme there is a danger that suicide is romanticised and sensationalised”.
TV isn’t real life, even most reality TV programs are dramatised for effect. We are in fact comparing ourselves to fictional characters with fictional situations. That subconsciously can have a negative effect on peoples mental health.
I would say is it has got people talking and opening up conversations that I believe would never have happened. In my opinion that can only be a good thing.