Netflix Original series 13 Reasons Why, highlights the magnitude of bullying and suicide rates, of which LGBTI youth are disproportionately represented in.
The show which revolves around a student who kills herself after a series of culminating failures, brought on by select individuals within their school, is based on the 2007 novel ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher.
Featuring a number of gay characters, starring, Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen, and Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker the emotional and captivating series sheds light on a topic often kept in the shadows and ignored by many.
With numerous pieces of research finding that attempted suicide rates among rainbow youth compare higher to that of heterosexual youth, it is no surprise that LGBTI teens and young adults have one of the highest rates of suicide globally.
According to the US Suicide Prevention Resource Centre who have amalgamated a number of studies from around the world, the centre estimates that between 5 and 10% of LGBTI youth, depending on age and sex groups, have attempted suicide, a rate 1.5-3 times higher than heterosexual youth.
The successful series which has effectively raised awareness about suicide and bullying to teens, parents, friends and schools has also been credited for an almost 100% increase in the number of calls to Brazil’s suicide hotlines.
13 Reasons Why has however received some negative reviews, a suicide prevention advocate, MollyKate Cline, criticised the series in Teen Vogue, saying the show failed to address depression and mental illness.
Cline also criticised the series for not portraying any of the characters seeking help from their parents, writing, “If you are experiencing bullying, or feeling depressed or suicidal, the best thing you can do for yourself is to tell somebody. And that’s what I had hoped 13 Reasons Why would focus on instead of a dramatic story line over getting revenge for those 13 people.”