'' 13 Factors ' stimulates criticism of teen suicide depiction


Beth Dubber/ Netflix through AP This image shows Katherine Langford in a scene from the series, “13 Reasons that,” about a teenager who devotes suicide. The stomach-turning suicide scene has triggered criticism from some psychological health advocates that it glamorizes suicide as well as promoted lots of schools throughout the nation to send out warning letters to parents and guardians.

Friday, April 28, 2017|7:05 p.m.

New York City– It’s a scene as agonizing to view as it is graphic: A 17-year-old girl climbs into a bathtub with a razor. We see her piece into her skin, we see the blood pour out, hear her cry and struggle to breathe. Then she is still.

The suicide of the heroine in Netflix’s new popular series “13 Reasons Why” should not come as a shock, considering that it’s portrayed in the last episode of a series developed around the character’s death. But knowing that it is coming doesn’t make it any easier.

That stomach-turning scene has triggered criticism that it romanticizes suicide and triggered lots of schools across the nation to send out warning letters to parents and guardians. The program’s developers are unapologetic, saying their frank depiction needs to be “unflinching and raw.”

“Lots of people are accusing the program of glamorizing suicide and I feel highly– and I believe everybody who made the program– feel very highly that we did the exact opposite,” said writer Brian Yorkey, who won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for the musical “Beside Regular,” which came to grips with mental disorder. “What we did was portray suicide and we represented it as extremely ugly and very harmful.”

The 13-episode drama, co-produced by actress and singer Selena Gomez, is based upon Jay Asher’s young-adult 2007 bestseller about a high school student who kills herself and leaves 13 audiotapes detailing the occasions that caused her death, consisting of sexual assault, substance abuse and bullying.

Per typical, Netflix released all 13 hours of the series at the same time– on March 31– leaving suicide prevention experts concerned teens may binge the whole series without an opportunity to completely absorb the concerns and ask concerns. They also say they want the show would regularly flash the National Suicide Avoidance hotline.

“Graphic information about suicide we understand historically are not advised,” said Phyllis Alongi, the scientific director of The Society for the Prevention of Teenager Suicide. “I understand exactly what the producers are stating but it might actually be hazardous and I think we need to be a bit more accountable.”

Netflix and the show creators point out that numerous psychological health experts were consulted and they provide a 30-minute program called “Beyond the Reasons” that delves deeper into the harder topics portrayed, along with a website with connect to resources.

The program is rated TV-MA, which indicates it might disagree for kids under 17, and 3 episodes which contain explicit product have “audience discretion recommended” cautions.

However some psychological health specialists are going even more, with the National Association of School Psychologists declaring, “We do not recommend that susceptible youth, specifically those who have any degree of self-destructive ideation, see this series.”

Critics of the program argue that depression and mental disorder– secrets to comprehending suicide– are seldom pointed out and the fact that its heroine, Hannah, gets to tell her story after her death sends out a potentially harmful message. They’re likewise distressed that the school assistance counselor portrayed on the program seems to blame the victim.

The Jed Foundation and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education joined forces to create 13 talking points for young people and guardians to discuss while enjoying the series, consisting of warnings that the way the therapist is depicted is “not typical” which “leaving messages from beyond the tomb is a dramatization produced in Hollywood.”

School systems across the nation look out parents, making them aware that their teens may be streaming the series, urging them to view it with them, and supplying details to help them talk about it.

In the upstate New York neighborhood of Grand Island, school administrators warned that the series “sensationalizes suicide.” Indiana’s biggest school district cautioned in an email that the series “does not accurately model exactly what we would desire or hope individuals do if they are struggling or in crisis.”

In Maryland, principals in the Montgomery County public school system discovered teenagers discussing the series and wished to ensure parents had resources to deal with hard questions. A warning letter and links to resources eventually went out to all 35,000 middle schoolers.

“There’s a lot to take in and digest. If you’re a young, growing mind being informed by exactly what you see, this might have an effect,” stated Derek Turner, representative for the district. “So we’re giving them pointers and tools.”

According to the Centers for Illness Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death for children and young people ages 10 to 24 in 2014.

Dr. Helen Hsu, a clinical psychologist in Fremont, California, whose work involves suicide avoidance in schools, helped shape some of the “13 Reasons that” scripts. She stated disappointing Hannah’s suicide would be practically “coy and avoidant” and that medical research studies aren’t conclusive about the dangers of suicide contagion. Plus, there are currently graphic how-to guides online.

“If you think your kid can’t discover this in one second on the web currently in the previous Ten Years, you are sadly incorrect,” she stated. “To say this is going to activate that is sort of naive. What I truly emphasized in the script writing was I said. ‘It has to concentrate on that it’s not attractive, that it’s unsightly, it hurts and I really want you to focus on the discomfort of her parents and the people left.'”

While suicide has been illustrated on TV shows, the youth of the functions in “13 Reasons Why” is pioneering. It has actually plainly struck a nerve: The show has 340,000 Twitter fans and 2.4 million likes on Facebook.

Gomez, who has talked freely about her own mental-health struggles, said she was braced for a backlash: “It’s going to come no matter what. It’s not a simple subject to speak about. However I’m really fortunate with how it’s doing.”

Yorkey said developers wished to tell a young person story in “a more honest way that it has actually ever been told on television.”

“I comprehend it’s tough to enjoy,” he stated. “It was expected to be tough to see due to the fact that these things are incredibly difficult to sustain and we wished to state, ‘These things are happening in kids’ lives. You can keep quiet about them. You can keep kids from viewing programs about them. It’s not going to stop them from taking place in kids’ lives and you should be discussing that.'”

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