In this episode of What School Didn’t Teach You, we explore the Netflix hit series 13 Reasons Why with renowned Australian psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg.
For those who haven’t seen it, 13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who commits suicide. Hannah leaves behind 13 tapes about why she decided to end her own life, addressed to people she felt contributed to her decision.
The series depicts the struggle the young teen went through in the lead-up to her suicide. Not surprisingly, it has received decidedly mixed reviews. Some have praised 13 Reasons as powerful and important entertainment, but others have been furious about its depiction of mental health, accusing it of glamorising suicide and risky behaviour.
Co-producer Selena Gomez recently fired back at critics of the show, defending it as honest and real.
In New Zealand, the Office of Film and Literature Classification issued a new classification for the show, RP18, which requires under-18s to watch it with their parents.
Here in Australia, there has also been widespread concern from schools and parents, who worry the show may encourage copycat behaviour. Many expressed these concerns to Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, which offers early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds.
Headspace issued a warning and series of factsheets to help parents talk to their teens about the confronting series and the help they can receive if they’re having suicidal thoughts. In May, Netflix added a viewer discretion warning to the first episode encouraging audiences to reach out to suicide prevention services.
Our expert for this episode is Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, an Australian psychologist who specialises in child, adolescent and parenting psychology, and adolescent mental health. Michael gives his views on 13 Reasons, as well as advice about how to look after your mental health and where to get help if you need it.
If you or anyone you know is going through a tough time, don’t hesistate to reach out to someone. And if this program raised any issues for you here some contacts that can help you:
What School Didn’t Teach You is a regular podcast for 15-25 year-olds struggling to master vital life skills as they begin to lead independent lives. Aiming to fill the education gaps that Australian high schools seem to miss, each episode enlists the help of an expert to answer important life questions – from basic accounting skills to attempting to eat well on a low income.
Produced, presented and edited by Tahlia Zaloumis, Isabell Greigeritsch, Eden Borella and Dominique Russell. Logo design by Isabell Greigeritsch.