Netflix should censor or remove the graphic depiction of suicide in 13 Reasons Why.

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Netflix should censor or remove the graphic depiction of suicide in 13 Reasons Why.

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Cons
  • "Research shows that exposure to another person's suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide," according to a statement about the show released by the National Association of School Psychologists.

  • There are alternative ways the writers of 13 Reasons Why could have depicted Hannah's suicide so that it would not have been so graphic.

  • Graphically depicting Hannah's suicide method has the unintended consequence of teaching vulnerable viewers an effective way to achieve a lethal result. The focus of such scenes should not be on the lethal method chosen, but on the pain and suffering of the person who attempts suicide and his/her family and friends.

  • A major problematic aspect of the show is its portrayal of the response Hannah receives when she actively seeks help from adults on two separate occasions. The show depicts teachers and school counselors as unable or unwilling to help suicidal students. This may lead vulnerable viewers to believe that seeking help from these professionals is not worthwhile.

  • Censorship of Hannah’s suicide would disrupt the important trend of openly portraying each difficult topic discussed throughout the show.

  • "It overwhelmingly seems to me that the most irresponsible thing we could’ve done would have been not to show the death at all. In AA, they call it playing the tape: encouraging alcoholics to really think through in detail the exact sequence of events that will occur after relapse. It’s the same thing with suicide. To play the tape through is to see the ultimate reality that suicide is not a relief at all—it’s a screaming, agonizing, horror." - Nic Sheff, 13 Reasons Why writer

  • Censorship of graphic depictions of suicide infringe on the artistic freedom of the writers of this series.

  • What constitutes a "graphic" depiction of suicide is subjective and, as a result, open to interpretation.

  • Censoring depictions of suicide in television implicitly promotes the idea that discussions of suicide should remain taboo.