13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

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JessicaF
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13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by JessicaF » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:23 pm

I was interested in what people's opinions of 13 reasons why are, as well as the possible implications that it brings.

For those of you that aren't sure what this is, it's a netflix tv show portraying a 17 year old girl who leaves behind 13 tapes to various friends and people she went to school with and the reasons why she committed suicide. The reasons vary from 2 of her friends start dating and slowly distancing themselves from her, to a school teacher telling her to "get over it {her depression} as well as her being raped. Essentially it's trying to show how ones negative actions can lead to negative consequences. (I'll leave a link here for episode overviews but note it has spoilers; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13_Reasons_Why )

It is quickly becoming very popular to viewers of varying ages including teenagers. Many people have stated how it's a large eye opener and how they sympathise with Hannah. However both the suicide and rape scenes are extremely graphic, doesn't this do more damage than good? Particularly if teenagers are watching? There are trigger warnings plotted throughout the show however there isn't an age restriction meaning that children aged 14-15 do have access to watch it. On top of this, after her death it portrays how most of the characters feel extreme remorse for her taking her life and how they develop their own problems (one girl develops an alcohol problem, another tries to take his own life). I feel that the show tries to touch on important topics about mental health issues, how teenagers can suffer in silence, that their problems may be ignored and issues with cyber bullying as well as a multitude of other problems. Although it is important to highlight this and inform people about this, equally isn't it important to inform people how they can overcome their problems and that there is help available?

I'm interested in any opinions! Be it from a health professional view, or personal point of view :)

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purpledot
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by purpledot » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:35 pm

I'm in the middle of watching this, so not able to offer any thoughts yet - though I am proceeding slowly due to the number of trigger warnings I've read.

One thing I wanted to highlight from my own personal view, is the language used when talking about suicide. It's not intended as a criticism, and it was something I'd never thought about until I worked with individuals affected by suicide, but I'm always cautious about using the phrase committed suicide. There is a potential for that phrase to include judgement about the act (even when this is not intended) due to the historical legal status of suicide. Many people who have been affected by suicide may prefer phrases such as "took their own life" or "died by suicide".

There is a blog post written about it which talks about this far more eloquently than I ever could, if anyone is interested:

https://18miles.wordpress.com/2010/05/2 ... d-suicide/

I look forward to hearing people's views on 13 Reasons Why - I've heard lots of discussions both for and against the series.
Last edited by purpledot on Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JessicaF
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by JessicaF » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:41 pm

purpledot wrote:I'm in the middle of watching this, so not able to offer any thoughts yet - though I am proceeding slowly due to the number of trigger warnings I've read.

One thing I wanted to highlight from my own personal view, is the language used when talking about suicide. It's not intended as a criticism, and was something I never thought about until working in the area, but there is a lot of judgement included in the phrase committed suicide. Many people who have been affected by suicide may prefer phrases such as "took their own life" or "died by suicide".

There's a blog post written about it which talks about this far more eloquently than I ever could, if anyone is interested:

https://18miles.wordpress.com/2010/05/2 ... d-suicide/

I look forward to hearing people's views on 13 Reasons Why - it's provoked a lot of discussion amongst mental health practitioners.

Ahhh right! I'll check out your blog post. Thank you for informing me! I obviously don't want to offend anyone or have anyone think that they're being judged so I appreciate you bringing that up!

purpledot
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by purpledot » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:48 pm

JessicaF wrote: Ahhh right! I'll check out your blog post. Thank you for informing me! I obviously don't want to offend anyone or have anyone think that they're being judged so I appreciate you bringing that up!
No worries - it wasn't intended as a criticism, but something which I try to bring up whenever I can after a family I worked with talked with me about how they felt about that phrase

JessicaF
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by JessicaF » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:06 pm

purpledot wrote:
JessicaF wrote: Ahhh right! I'll check out your blog post. Thank you for informing me! I obviously don't want to offend anyone or have anyone think that they're being judged so I appreciate you bringing that up!
No worries - it wasn't intended as a criticism, but something which I try to bring up whenever I can after a family I worked with talked with me about how they felt about that phrase

Yes of course! It's like you said in your post, you don't necessarily think about the language used that much, and it's not something very commonly brought up. But I do think it's important to spread awareness about it and at least inform people!

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Spatch
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by Spatch » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:46 pm

I am looking forward to watching this. As this type of work is integral to my work it's something I think a lot about. While there is some research on suicide contagion and media reportage (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207262/) there are subtle nuances and caveats that warrant further reflection.

Firstly, suicide in art and literature is something that has been with us for a long time. From Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Camus or Stephen King it's a topic that resonates universally regardless of age and culture. It's depiction and discussion of it is something that people have debated endlessly and there will probably never be a point where everyone agrees. I think this range of opinions is a good thing as it has us questioning and thinking, and I would be generally be for anything that gets people talking. Trying to censor or paper over such an important subject isn't going to help anyone.

I also think that even if it was called "13000 reasons why" it wouldn't be nearly enough. Every attempted and completed act is unique and each person has different reasons, motivations and contexts (some of which are known and unknown), which is why I am wary about anything that pushes easy to grasp direct causes in the media ("It's the internet! No, it's bullying"). I am curious to see how it plays out in this series.
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lingua_franca
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by lingua_franca » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:09 pm

I'm a bit cautious about this show. I wouldn't say it glamourises suicide exactly, but based on my experience working in secure CAMHS, the premise - a girl issuing people with tapes detailing ways in which they personally contributed to her death, and them reacting with such extreme remorse - is basically the fantasy of some suicidal teenagers. I've heard young people using statements that I now know are all over Tumblr and Instagram, such as, "Self-harm is like playing Russian roulette, but you never know when someone will pull the trigger," and "It only takes one moment to make someone's day and one word to end someone's life." While I accept that this is a genuine reflection of how the young people felt about and approached their difficulties, I was sceptical about the recovery value of painting self-harm and suicide as purely external forces that other people have the power to wield against you, and from what I've seen of it so far this show does reinforce this idea.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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sarahg
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by sarahg » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:54 pm

I really wasn't a fan of this programme, especially considering how hyped up it was. Positives are increased awareness of mental health, an awareness of rape and potential consequences, an awareness of bullying and potential consequenc etc. But I disliked how people were blamed for Hannah taking her own life.

I do not have a very in-depth clinical awareness of suicide so please do let me know if any of the following thoughts are not supported within clinical psych. But from personal experience of a very close family member taking their own life, one of the things I was constantly told was to not blame myself. I think this is so important for those people who have lost somebody to suicide, and I think the program may forget these people are watching. There is a lot of blame in this program. In addition, I have frequently been told that those who take their own life are more likely to be acting on impulsiveness. Again, I do really feel like the program reflected much of this, and the act of creating an individual tape for all those individual people to 'blame' was very well thought out and just didn't seem realistic to me.

Obviously everybody on here is extremely well-informed about mental health, and associated risks and outcomes. We aren't really the intended audience, and so maybe our interpretations of this programme are completely different to a young teenager watching it. I'd be really interested to see what young people thought and what they took from it.

lakeland
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by lakeland » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:21 pm

This article is quite interesting and relevant.

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Spatch
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by Spatch » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:47 pm

Just finished watching this. I viewed it as generally positive albeit with a few caveats.

On the plus side, I thought it was well written, well acted and had an amazing soundtrack. I really enjoyed watching it as a TV drama. Interestingly, as the series progressed, I felt it was actually less about suicide than about the conditions that teens face; the incivility that is acceptable in school, isolation, the undue focus on success (especially on athletic and social prowess), the effects on women due to sexualisation and acceptability of violence towards both genders. The story was compelling and I think it would serve as a good talking point for teens or anyone else.

However, I do note it violates several of the guidelines around responsible portrayals of suicide and suicidal behaviour. It did feel like a revenge fantasy, and a remarkably effective one- The truth gets told, those that wronged Hannah feel regret, it prompts action etc. Not sure how helpful (or realistic) that actually is. One can also draw the implicit message that it somehow elicits or consolidates the feelings of love the protgonist has for Hannah. I also think that it simplifies things in a odd way; those 13 reasons could have happened to another similar person, and they would not have necessarily ended their life. Techincally, I would regard them as "contributory factors" within a formulation, with one or two possibly "preciptatory factors" but not necessarily outright reasons (which could include a variety of issues beyond the scope of the series including genetics, neurobiological, psychological and other factors) -even if Hannah does see them that way.

Presumably the intended audience are not clincal psychologists, or academic researchers.

Also not sure what the actual depiction of the method, act and moment added to the portrayal. This does go against guidelines, as does the use of dramatic music, choice of character. I also wonder if it may give the unintended message that suicide occurs, or is more likely to occur, if there are lots of factors. ("Oh, they will be fine. They only have 3 reasons and some of those are fairly minor...").

Saying all of that, I would certainly not advocate censoring anything or criticise the programme makers. The topic is inherently of interest and I don't think there is a perfect way to portray it in art.
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Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-Expe ... 00EQFE5JW/

lingua_franca
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Re: 13 Reasons why opinion? [trigger warning]

Post by lingua_franca » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:14 pm

Today I read about a young man in Peru who has killed himself and left a set of recordings behind, seemingly in imitation of 13 Reasons Why. Wondering if this was the first occasion, I found this WashPo article, which mentions other copycat incidents in American schools. I know that it's too simplistic to say that a TV show could make someone want to kill themselves, but I worry that the revenge fantasy element that Spatch mentions could definitely push someone who is already feeling fragile to take this step.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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