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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Durham chapter.

As you head to open this article, you might have already heard about the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Highly controversial, this series offers the perspective of a girl who commits suicide as she reveals thirteen reasons why she took her life and the people who influenced her decision. Each side of the tapes she leaves behind concerns the actions of one of her acquaintances; they are supposed to listen, then pass the tapes onto the next person so that they can learn what they’ve done and prevent it from happening again. This is not the first series that approaches teenage suicide, but it has had a lot of coverage as well as a record-breaking number of views, even beating Netflix’s number one, Stranger Things.

As I started the series, there was something intriguing about the fact that Hannah (protagonist) left thirteen different tapes, each one dedicated to a different person. As a viewer you immediately feel part of the story as you are encouraged to keep watching in order to find out who is responsible for her suicide and how they are linked. However, why would she leave those tapes and risk other people’s mental health too? Over the last couple of episodes we get to see the reasoning behind the tapes and how she wanted others to get a hint of the pain she was feeling at the time.

There has been a lot of debate over the past few weeks about the approach taken by the directors towards mental health and teenage suicide. In our era of modernity and social media we face a time where everything happens on your phone and one picture can actually make your life difficult. It’s a time of challenge for human relations and especially for our mental health. With thousands of texting and photo-sharing apps, loneliness strikes us as we face a generation of people who don’t speak to each other anymore and hide behind a screen, which is very well portrayed over the drama.

As the series exposes the challenges faced by a teenager in the U.S, one could argue that it may be damaging for people who have dealt with difficult situations who could compare themselves to the protagonist of the series and the reasons behind her suicide. In fact, the Netflix drama is very explicit in how the protagonist self-harmed and it shows us graphically how she killed herself, which may lead to copycat intents among young adults. On the other hand, the series opens the debate towards suicide and how mental health has a huge impact on our lives. Over the past couple of years, the debate has opened different sides to how people take care of mental health and the horrendous consequences that it may bring, as we see in this series.

As much as I enjoyed the series, I believe that it failed to successfully portray the different factors that affect mental health (well-being, education, awareness, consent, etc) and how their neglect led to the suicide of the protagonist, but we shall see what happens in the next season.