Things to Think and Talk About While Watching 13 Reasons Why


It’s hard to ignore the buzz around “13 Reasons Why.”

Here are some tips for talking about it.

1. Address the show’s representation of suicide as a way to send a message.

To show suicide as an effective communication strategy is misleading and perpetuates that people only kill themselves to teach others a lesson.

2. Understand that suicides are often not orchestrated.

Anywhere from 33 percent to 80 percent of all suicide attempts are impulsive. Source: The New England Journal of Medicine.

3. Know that suicide doesn’t always leave behind a list of people/things to “blame.”

When someone dies by suicide, there often isn’t a neatly, bullet-pointed list of “reasons why,” as the title of the show implies.

4. Challenge the “bullycide” narrative.

Talk about the whole range of reasons why someone dies by suicide, including mental health, isolation and lack of support.

5. Talk honestly about the “kind of people” who die by suicide. (Hint: The stereotype is wrong.)

Some say the show perpetuate the myth that people who kill themselves are manipulative and vengeful.People who kill themselves are diverse in what actually drives them and shouldn’t be simplified to a stereotype.

6. Talk about the resources available for someone who’s feeling suicidal.

Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Teen Line: Text “TEEN” to 839863 between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. PT.

7. Create a safe space for talking about suicide.

Let your loved ones know there’s nothing shameful about having suicidal thoughts and that they can talk to you and get support if they’re ever feeling hopeless.

8. The “issue” with “13 Reasons Why” is not that it talks about suicide.

We should be talking about suicide. Many, many more suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors have stories to tell. And they also deserve our ears and hearts.

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