Warning: This post discusses suicide and may be triggering.
Despite ’13 Reasons Why’ hitting Netflix almost a month ago, the series still continues to dominate public debate, with arguments for and against its merits.
The show definitely has its flaws, and the dangerous message the series allegedly puts forward could put lives at risk. But a lot more could be said about the positives to come from such a series, by boosting awareness and a dialogue on suicide – which is too often cast aside as a taboo subject.
Staying mostly silent on the negative criticism the series has garnered is producer Selena Gomez. While Gomez has featured the series on her Instagram, she has only just addressed the controversy surrounding ’13 Reasons Why’ in an interview with the Associated Press:
“We stayed very true to the book and that’s initially what Jay Asher created was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story and I think that’s what we wanted to do,” she said.
“We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, [the backlash is] gonna come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing and I’m overwhelmed. I’m very proud of it.”
The singer/actress originally intended to play the lead character of Hannah Baker in the series, but eventually came on as a producer instead. Aussie actress Katherine Langford was instead cast in the leading role.
If you or someone you know needs support, both Lifeline on 13 11 14 and the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 offer 24-hour assistance. For further information about youth mental health, both Headspace and Reach Out can provide guidance. Or you can also talk to a medical professional or someone you trust.