A call for help: Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why addresses high school suicide


Autumn Boekeloo

An NC student reflects on the way the main character of 13 Reasons Why created tapes to explain her suicide.

Autumn Boekeloo, Entertainment editor

13 Reasons Why, a Netflix series debuted on March 31 about a girl who commits suicide due to excessive bullying, successfully displays the horrifying truth behind tormenting teenagers in a typical high school setting.

Based on the best selling novel by Jay Asher, the show follows the story of Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), a local loner in the town of Crestmont, who strives to understand the “reasons why” his high school dream-girl Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) made the gruesome decision to kill herself.  

A touchy but crucial subject to address in the average high school comes to life in 13 Reasons Why, when the entire community of Crestmont feels the aftermath of suicide. Posters line the hallways of the high school reading “Suicide is not an option,” triggering an outburst by Alex Standall (Miles Heizer): “What, they think these are gonna save someone’s life? ‘Suicide is not an option?’ Yeah, you know what it clearly is an option.” The raging comments lead viewers to realize in typical schools, communities do not talk about suicide until it actually happens.

The thirteen episodes provide an emotional rollercoaster filled with drama, mystery, and remorse, allowing 13 Reasons Why to top the current binge-watching list for any Netflix addict.

While the favored Netflix show strongly displays the urgency and awareness of teen suicide, the last episode includes a scene of Hannah Baker cutting her wrists to death, a horrendous sight for any viewer.

“I had to look away and I have a pretty strong stomach,” senior Dakota Griggs said.

Personally, the show messed with my emotions, reminding me of the loss of a dear friend to suicide. I found myself pausing the show to wipe away tears and turning off Netflix to recollect myself until the next day to continue watching. For anyone coping with the death of a family member or friend, I would not recommend watching this show.

“It will trigger emotions in me from past experiences going through depression. It raises awareness yes, but to those who go through that it can increase their behavior and I don’t want to advocate that triggering environment,” senior Mackenzie Duvall said.

The Chant’s Grade: B