- Mark Henick: None of the criticism of "13 Reasons Why" means that we shouldn't talk about suicide
- It's critical that we do talk about it, but we need to do it right, Henick writes
Mark Henick (@markhenick) is a mental health advocate, speaker, and media commentator. He lives in Toronto, Canada. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. If you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, please reach out for help. Crisis lines in your community can be found here. For further resources, you can consult the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
(CNN)Albert Camus once wrote, "Good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding."
Why experts think the show is dangerous
- They may simplify suicide by suggesting that bullying alone is the cause.
- They may make suicide seem romantic by putting it in the context of a Hollywood plot line. A simple, logical, and well-connected plotline may satisfy the story arc needs of a viewing audience, but it is rarely, if ever, the way that suicides really happen.
- They may portray suicide as a viable option, one that can be an understandable outcome given a particular set of circumstances. In nearly all cases, people who die by suicide have a diagnosable (and therefore treatable) mental health problem at the time of their death.
- They may display graphic representations of suicide which may be harmful to viewers, especially young ones and those who are highly sensitized to suicide imagery, as most attempt survivors and loss survivors are.
- They may advance the false notion that suicides are a way to teach others a lesson, and that the deceased person will finally be understood and vindicated. They won't. They'll still be dead.