This article contains spoilers for the show 13 Reasons Why, but the last two paragraphs summarize my opinion and are spoiler-free.
13 Reasons Why is a realistic drama set in high school showing how people move on after student Hannah Baker chose to take her own life.
The show is seen through the eyes of Clay Jensen, a former co-worker of Hannah’s, who also had a crush on her since shortly after they met. Distraught and looking for answers, he accidentally takes a set of 13 cassette tapes from his friend tony, and finds out that they’re a set of messages recorded by Hannah. Each tape names a person and how they contributed to her wanting to kill herself. Clay, feeling at a loss after the first tape, tries to return them, but Tony assures him that it was no accident and that people who were on the tapes were meant to receive them. Clay then struggles to hear what happened to Hannah all the way to the end, and wait to see what he did himself.
13 Reasons Why sends a powerful message and brings subjects like sexual assault, suicide, mental health, and bullying into pop-culture and discussion. However, the means that they brought it into discussion left some people upset and brought them back to darker times in their lives.
A source who wished to remain anonymous said that her experience with the show was extremely triggering for her, acknowledging that the rape scenes in the show left her in tears because of past experiences. Her experience is not unlike many others, and to help better understand, I talked to Oregon Tech’s Integrated Student Health Center’s (ISHC) Gaylyn Maurer.
“I have colleagues at universities all around Oregon who have a lot of things to say about the show," said Maurer. “When patients mention the show, another topic often brought up is thoughts of suicide.”
Maurer also wanted to stress the point that “at Oregon Tech and college in general, sexual assault is taken seriously and we have resources specifically for students that have been through that.”
For an entertainment value, the show is a gripping drama, and does have entertainment value. But as Maurer says, “I think it can help bring awareness to bullying, sexual assault, and suicidal thoughts, but for those who have already experienced them, it can be triggering.”
I would recommend the show for those who are looking for a new drama, but to take caution and get help if needed. The student health center’s services are free, and more information can be found at their website. http://www.oit.edu/campus-life/student-health.