The Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’ is a big hit right now and it’s getting a ton of talk. Being a therapist this is making me cringe. I’m not necessarily against the show for adults, it definitely does have an entertainment value to it, however, I realize the more I hear about it the less I’m impressed with it. Suicide is something I have to hear about, deal with, and discuss every single day. Literally, every day. My job can be really ugly at times. I hear a lot about everything that people won’t discuss with their worst enemy, let alone their best friend. I understand ugly. Children should not have to be faced with ugly.
- Suicide is not entertainment suitable for children- I don’t think we need to elaborate, but if you disagree the rest of this post is pointless.
- Kids become desensitized to it- For example, there is something in the criminal world called ‘grooming’. It’s where people desensitize children to eventually allow and normalize sexual abuse. To a child experiencing this, sexual abuse becomes routine, a way of life. This is the same type of point when it comes to suicide. If suicide becomes a norm, then that makes it an option. Just like sexual abuse should not be an option, neither should suicide.
- It’s traumatizing to many who have experienced it- Many people have experienced suicide in one form or another. It hurts.
- Suicide is a sensitive subject that parents should address accordingly- Why allow the TV to give your child information that they may not be ready for? Death is a difficult concept to understand.
- Why endorse the romanticizing of seeking revenge by method of such permanence?
- Suicide is permanent and contagious- One cannot heal or change their mind. Once it’s done, it’s done. When others see it, they start to consider it as well.
- Suicide should not be regarded as an option for anyone, but especially children.
- Suicide hurts people in ways that are unexpected and often not regarded.
- Suicide is not glamorous.
- Children often don’t understand the cost of it- A person’s brain is not fully developed until approximately the age of 25. This is why 18 year-olds are encouraged to go into the military. Often, 18-year-olds still have the feelings of being invincible. They feel like there’s not a lot of cost.
- Children’s brains don’t understand the permanence of it- When I would assess adolescents and even some adults I hear them talk about suicide as an option and then they add something to the effect of, “After that, things will get better.” I have to kindly remind them that ‘after that’ doesn’t happen.
- It sparks a curiosity that could be costly- Again, do we really want to feed the brain with more than it can handle?
- The more a child watches it the less immune they become- Think of swearing. If you say the ‘F’ word a lot, it is easier for your kid to use it. If you smoke a lot, your children are more likely to smoke. If they see people fighting a lot, your kid is more likely to fight. If they see suicide, well, I’ll let you put the conclusion to that.
My daughter was forced to read the book for school. I disagreed with it then and I disagree with the show now. As a person that works with this mentality and population, I sincerely see no benefit at all to children learning, hearing, and spending time thinking about suicide.