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Netflix Is Finally Changing The Suicide Scene In 13 Reasons Why

2 Years 2 Late?

*WARNING: This article discusses themes such as stress, mental illness, rape, depression and suicide.*

After two whole years of backlash, Netflix is finally doing something about that awful suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why.

13 Reasons Why garnered heaps of attention when it came out, both good and bad. On the one hand, it really did inspire conversations on mental illness among young people. It normalised talking about depression a little, and paved the way for some serious discussion on teen mental health. Plus, it showed that people do care about you, even if you yourself can’t see it.

On the other hand though, it def glorified depression and suicide, and this is where most of the backlash comes from. It’s just so hard to watch. The premise of the show is about Hannah Baker taking her own life, and then leaving a bunch of tapes to explain why and expose the people that hurt and tormented her.

The scene in which she takes her own life is graphic as fuck, and was criticised heavily for showing kids such a graphic and unapologetic depiction of suicide. I remember watching the show and just closing my laptop during that scene because I couldn’t stomach it. Naturally, people were horrified and there were mass complaints against something so sensitive and triggering being shown on a teen show.

Netflix has finally responded to calls for the deletion of that harrowing scene, and is replacing it with Hannah Baker staring at herself in the mirror before a cut to her mother finding her.

Hannah Baker, 13 Reasons Why.

13 Reasons Why Constantly Blurs The Line Between Truth And Triggers

Honestly, it’s about time Netflix dumped the scene. I appreciate the idea of telling the brutal truth, even if it’s ugly or unpleasant or hard to stomach. I get it, I really do. But the problem is you can’t deny the risk it poses to young viewers, and I don’t think any scene of a TV show is worth that. I’m grateful that Netflix has acknowledged that now, but it’s pretty shit that we had to fight for two years for it.

13 Reasons Why has always raised questions about the glorification of suicide and toxic behaviour. Season one was great from a drama perspective – I binged the whole thing in one go and thought it was a really good watch. It spoke about relevant issues challenged certain problematic ideas surrounding what constitutes as rape.

However, the whole time I was watching the first season, I couldn’t help but feel that we were spreading some really dangerous ideas. The whole premise of the show – aka, Hannah’s tapes, raised some questions on glorification of suicide. Essentially, story pushes the idea of receiving justice after taking your own life. It felt like it was glorifying suicide by showing it as a revenge tool against bullies – Hannah exposed ugly truths after she took her own life and it ruined the lives of her oppressors.

Suicide letters or tapes as a revenge tool can actually be seen as desirable to someone at risk, even if the show isn’t trying to glorify them. It’s easy to see it from that angle, and it raises questions on how much responsibility the show should take for the way people perceive it. It’s hard to draw the line between accurate mental illness representation, and triggering content, and I know there isn’t an easy answer.

At least, for now, we are seeing some positive action from Netflix on this issue. The edit comes as audiences anticipate season 3 of 13 Reasons Why.

If you are struggling at the moment, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, headspace on 1800 650 890, or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

Image Sources: Netflix, Twitter @13ReasonsWhy

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