Responses to 13 Reasons Why

Emily Schmitt, News Writer

13 Reasons Why has taken over social media and is a topic of conversation for teenagers across the world. With opinions including calling it a “soul touching to a depiction of revenge suicide that teens don’t need,” 13 Reasons Why has caused quite a stir.

13 Reasons Why is about teenager Clay receiving a series of tapes that holds clues to the reasons behind his classmate and crush Hannah’s decision to commit suicide. It has an interesting storyline about a touchy subject, but is this controversial Netflix TV show worth watching? And is it as soul-touching as some have claimed? A few Eagan students have lent their opinion.

Freshman Aiya thinks that it is worth watching. She also states that, “I haven’t went through an experience like that, but I think it did touch quite a bit of people, just not me specifically.”

Junior Hanna’s opinion has a bit of a different take. She said that she loves 13 Reasons Why. “I think it’s amazing. It’s dramatic, and it has a slow-burning romance. And it’s really cool to see the flashbacks. Plus, Clay is adorable…” When I asked if the show had touched her on a personal level, Hanna told me that she could relate a bit to the character that shares her name. “I had something like that happen to me, so I’m reflecting on myself while I’m watching this, and while it’s not that great for me, it’s helping me understand why I felt the way I felt.”

Freshman Linda’s opinion related to the show’s “purpose.” “It’s good and bad that people started watching it, because it will let everyone know about suicide, and how people don’t just commit suicide on a whim, and there’s reasons why people do. When people say ‘I wanna kill myself,’ you should take it seriously and call 911, but people these days don’t because they use the words ‘I want to kill myself’ so often that people don’t take it seriously.”

In another light, The Spokesman-Review, a digital news site, states that, “Some suicide prevention experts say the series could do more harm than good… In each tape, [Hannah] essentially blames her death on the actions (or inaction) of a group of classmates and a faculty member. That premise, along with a graphic scene depicting Hannah’s death, is at odds with the way experts say we should talk about suicide. The “Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide,” … emphasizes that suicide is usually the result of multiple causes, often involving mental illness, and not something that can be blamed on a person or single event. And experts advise against sensational headlines or describing a suicide in graphic detail, which studies have shown can lead to suicide contagion, or ‘copycat’ suicides.”

On April 24th, the EHS Counseling Office had a section in an Eagan News email that dealt with 13 Reasons Why. In the email, it was voiced that some experts are concerned with the “misinformation” and “misconceptions” about suicide in the show. It was also stated that, “Counselors are reporting a range of reactions to the show, based on the student’s own life experiences and mental health. We feel it is important that parents have the knowledge they need to take action appropriate for their own child.” It seems that counselors may be a bit concerned about how this show is affecting different students here at Eagan. Is the show’s ability to affect the watcher in such a way a good thing or a bad thing?

Many cannot get enough of 13 Reasons Why, and while parents may be worried about the inaccuracy of the show’s depiction of suicide, it seems to have caught the media’s eye, and doesn’t seem to be going elsewhere anytime soon. As a season two of 13 Reasons Why has been confirmed by tweets from the cast, more controversy is sure to come.