Whatever you think about the phenomenon, it has taken on teen culture by storm: over three million copies of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why have been sold and the Netflix series has broken viewing records. Thousands of teens have watched it — despite the MA rating — and the conversations going around schools everywhere are enticing other teens to jump on the bandwagon and view it, too.
Thirteen Reasons is the story of a high school student named Clay Jenson. He comes home from school one day to find a package containing seven cassette tapes. As he begins listening, he realizes the tapes contain the final recorded messages of his friend, Hannah Baker. She details, in story-like fashion, the thirteen reasons why she decided to kill herself, asking the listeners to join her on a journey until her final deadly act.
As the story continues, each tape gets darker and darker, highlighting horrific events that Hannah endured during her short life. It is filled with deep hurt and abuse that ranges from cyber-bullying, sexual harassment and rape.
There has been a lot written about the show, including reasons for or against watching it. Some say the dialogue the show is creating is good. Many suicide prevention groups loathe both the book and the Netflix series, accusing them of glorifying suicide, especially among teenagers. Some say parents should watch it as a primer on current teen culture.
We’re not chiming in to give our critique. What we want to highlight is all of the reasons why suicide is NOT the right answer for anyone — children or adults. As this is an incredibly hot series right now, there are several students in our ministries that could be easily triggered by the graphic scenes in this show, given ideas on how to follow through in committing suicide themselves, or encouraged to romanticize the pain, hurt and struggles often associated with suicide.
We want to partner with a campaign that Foursquare youth pastor, Judah Trabulsi, in Highlands Ranch, CO, felt led to launch this weekend called “13 Reasons I Chose Life”. Watch this quick video of Pastor Judah sharing his heart…