Discussing '13 Reasons Why'

If you're up to date on pop culture or have teenagers, it's likely you've heard of the new Netflix series "13 Reasons Why." This show is a 13-episode series based on the best-selling novel by Jay Asher entitled, "Thirteen Reasons Why." The show tells the story of teenager Hannah Baker's suicide through a series of audio tapes she left behind as clues to her reasoning. In each tape, Hannah blames a specific person for her death- mainly her classmates.  


The series is quite raw and can be graphic. It covers topics such as mean behavior or harassment, rejection, heartbreak, sexual assault, abuse, revenge, depression, desperate but unsuccessful efforts to find help or understanding, and suicide. The tapes take viewers on a journey through Hannah's interactions with peers, family, and school personnel justifying her ultimate decision to end her life, which is graphically portrayed in the final episode. This type of series can be very difficult to watch and could easily trigger feelings of distress for vulnerable viewers. For this reason, it is so important that parents and teachers discuss this show with their children or students. 





















We can't tell kids not to watch the show because...well...they're even more likely to watch it. The MHF staff interacts with school students on a regular basis and we've come to the conclusion that teens everywhere are watching the series or have already finished it. We see the show as a learning tool. A chance for a bigger discussion about mental health, depression, suicide, and the be nice. Action Plan. 


Netflix Disclaimer: This show is rated MA for mature audiences, it covers many issues including depression, sexual assault and suicide. If you are struggling, this series may not be right for you or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.

13RW and the be nice. Action Plan

There are many instances where students or peers could have NOTICED or INVITED themselves to reach out to Hannah. To defend her when she's being bullied or humiliated. There are times when Hannah could have CHALLENGED herself to take action in her own defense and struggles. Hannah was aware of her feelings, and she could have found coping skills and protective factors to EMPOWER herself to prevent a death by suicide. There are times when her peers could have EMPOWERED her, instead of piling on or putting her down. 

Additional Information

Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

349 S Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

info@benice.org  |  616-389-8601