TORONTO – A teenage girl takes her own life. The disturbing scene comes to haunt viewers throughout 13 Reasons Why. The new series from Netflix has attracted the wrath of mental health specialists who denounce its harmful, even dangerous, impact on young people.
A teenage girl takes her own life. The disturbing scene comes to haunt viewers throughout 13 Reasons Why (Thirteen Reasons , in French). The new series of Netflix has attracted the wrath of mental health specialists who denounce its harmful, even dangerous, impact on young people.
The series is based on 13 tapes that the main character, Hannah Baker, sends to her classmates to explain her decision to kill herself.
“We see suicide as a way of revenge,” says Dr. Karine Igartua, president of the Quebec Association of Psychiatric Doctors, in an interview with Radio-Canada. Suicide is always a personal decision. We can not put the blame on someone else. This is a bad message. “
Moreover, the series does not address the underlying causes of depression, as does mental illness in general. His realism could also be problematic, experts say.
Hannah is able to make her voice heard after her death, “thus enjoying the success of revenge or making people realize the impact of their gestures,” observes Katherine Cowan of the American Association of School Psychologists. This false impression of reward could be a trigger for at-risk youth.
“Suicide is not a way to become popular,” says Dr. Igartua. This is not a normal reaction either to a series of negative events in life. We all live and learn to get up. ”
13 Reasons Why is also punctuated by many returns in time, especially when Hannah Baker ends her days. The disturbing scenes are longer, more explicit as they go.
“There are real things you do not need to see,” the psychiatrist warns. Once you have seen them, there is a risk that these images will remain in our brain and that we will not be able to get rid of them. ”
In addition to the potential for trauma, the suicide of the protagonist can be seen as a manual of instructions. More young people at risk of suicide are exposed to details, plus there is a risk of training, says the JED Foundation, which works to prevent suicide among young Americans.
The good sides
However disturbing the series, 13 Reasons Why highlights the challenges faced by today’s youth, Dr. Igartua says, such as love breakdown, virtual image, peer pressure. Situations that may seem commonplace parents, but are important in high school.
According to experts, adults are poor in the series. They are portrayed as incompetent, unnecessary and disconnected, Dr. Igartua says. For example, when Hannah tells the school counselor after a sexual assault, he blames the young woman.
It is therefore an opportunity for parents to remind their teenagers that adults can help them overcome their problems, recalls Karine Igartua. She suggests watching the series as a family to rectify the facts.
Netflix is adding warnings to episodes of 13 Reasons Why.
“There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting an important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories,” read a statement released by Netflix.
FEELING SUICIDAL OR THINK SOMEONE ELSE IS?
If you are thinking of suicide or think someone else may be, there is help. Call your local crisis line or mobile crisis team or the police, or go to the emergency room of your local hospital.