Thirteen Reasons Why Revisited: A Monograph for Teens, Parents, and Mental Health Professionals
Jay Asher’s novel Thirteen Reasons Why and its Netflix adaptation have enjoyed widespread popularity. While they draw needed attention to issues like bullying and teen estrangement, they may have an unintended effect: they mislead about the etiology of suicide and even glamorize it to a degree. The medical literature has shown that suicide is almost always the result of psychiatric disorder, not provocative stress, in much the same way an asthmatic crisis is primarily the result of an underlying medical condition, not an allergic stimulus. Both the novel and Netflix series ignore this premise and even belittle the idea. Thus, while the story has artistic merits, it also has the potential to be destructive if accessed by young readers and viewers seeking guidance. Approximately ten percent of teens suffer from depression, and suicide recently surpassed homicide as the second-leading cause of death among persons ages ten to twenty-four in the United States. A more balanced view addressing these misconceptions is provided for teens, parents, and mental health professionals.
KeywordsThirteen Reasons Why Adolescent and young adult Depression Suicide
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