September 2017 – Social media is abuzz with glowing recommendations (from Christians and non-Christians alike) for Netflix’s latest series, 13 Reasons Why.
Originally a bestselling novel by Jay Asher, this graphic, disturbing tale explores the reasons fictional teen Hannah Baker committed suicide.
Proponents of the show believe it is a realistic and empathetic way for parents and teens to broach the ever-present topics of bullying, rape, drug abuse, and suicide.
Jonathan Holmes, youth minister and writer, cautions that Hannah’s fictional story can seem glorified and almost glamorous for troubled teens, far from the devastating finality of actual suicide.
In fact, 13 Reasons Why might just act as a trigger for already troubled teens. Two separate families from different cities in California believe the show was what triggered their daughters’ suicides within days after first viewing the show in April.
“Every minute, a teen makes an attempt serious enough to require medical attention,” Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president of Child Mind Institute wrote in USA Today on May 5. “Millions more think about it seriously enough to make a plan. And shows such as 13 Reasons Why are vectors for the established phenomenon of suicide contagion.”
Despite protests from the families of both girls and warnings from mental health experts such as Koplewicz, Netflix has renewed the show for a second season.
youthmin.org, 4/17/17; foxnews.com, 6/27/17; usatoday.com, 4/28/17, 5/5/17