Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

So, I’ve been watching the wildly popular Netflix show “Thirteen Reasons Why”. The show has received a lot of criticism from teachers, parents and mental health specialists.

This article is not a critique, but an attempt to point out a fatal flaw that nobody seems to be talking about.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, anywhere from one-third to 80% of all suicide attempts are impulsive acts.
This means that, while Hannah Baker‘s suicide might have been premeditated, it is highly unlikely that she would be planning it for as long as it would take to record thirteen tapes where she intricately describes every wrong doing she has suffered at the hands of her tormenters.
At that point, she would likely be crying herself to sleep, not commiting suicide. Human beings have a survival instinct. To overcome it, you, more often than not, have to be acutely sick – experiencing a psychological crisis – or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Here’s what I mean: I am a survivor of many suicide attempts. While I can only speak from my own experience, I think it’s safe to say that once you go from being suicidal to attempting a suicide, you are way beyond blaming other people. You are experiencing a crisis, such that the only thing that matters in the entire universe is yourself. More specifically, the black hole that exists within you. 24% of all those who made near-lethal suicide attempts decided to kill themselves less than five minutes before the attempt, and 70% made the decision within an hour of the attempt. Those statistics simply leave very little room for the kind of premeditation existing in Hannah Baker’s mind.
Is there a point to all this?
While the things experienced by Hannah Baker are each like adding salt to a wound, The National Institute of Health says that 90% of all those who successfully go through with a suicide display some sort of diagnosable mental disorder. In other words, the wound is already there. The dynamics of suicide are bewilderingly complex, and it is never one person’s, or even thirteen persons’ fault. At worst, each person may have contributed in some small degree, but in the end, statistics show that in reality impulsive decision making and immediate crises play a much larger role.
Does that mean that people should stop caring for each other? Absolutely not! Every positive comment, however small, every smile and every genuine question helps to minimize the risk that the person in question will experience the kind of crisis that can ultimately take a life. If anything, that should be the lesson that people learn from “Thirteen Reasons Why”.