CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses suicide. If this places you in distress, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


There has been a lot of discussion around the depiction of suicide in ‘13 Reasons Why‘, Netflix‘s newest series executive produced by Selena Gomez. The entire premise of the show revolves around Hannah taking her own life, and leaving cassette tapes for specific peers whose actions she expresses were the key reasons for her eventual suicide.

Countless op-eds have been written for and against the show’s depiction of suicide – not just the graphic, drawn-out depiction of Hannah’s death, but for the way the show deals with suicide as a whole.

Backlash has been bubbling since the show dropped on Netflix, but it’s only now that Gomez has finally responded.

“We stayed very true to the book and that’s initially what [author] Jay Asher created, was a beautifully tragic, complicated yet suspenseful story, and I think that’s what we wanted to do,” she told the AP. “We wanted to do it justice and, yeah, that’s going to come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing. I’m overwhelmed. I’m very proud of it.”

Meanwhile, both Canada and New Zealand have implemented restrictions around it, and mental health groups have warned of possible suicide contagion.

On the other end of things, show writer Nic Sheff wrote an impassioned piece for Vanity Fair defending the show against the inevitable backlash, drawing on his own experiences of suicide and self-harm.

“[’13 Reasons Why’] seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like—to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse,” he wrote.

You can read his full piece here.

Photo: Handout.