This is a statement regarding the recent Netflix release, 13 Reasons Why, which follows the story of a young girl who dies by suicide.

The Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) is concerned that the Netflix adaptation of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why novel does not follow the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology’s media guidelines.

Suicide is complex. A death by suicide is typically brought on by a whole host of factors; almost never is it due to just one, like bullying. Furthermore, even just one positive factor, such as a supportive home environment or even one good friend, can be enough to keep a person who is struggling alive.

Suicidal people do not kill themselves to seek “revenge” against others who have hurt them. In fact, people in crisis do not want to die at all: they want the pain of living to end. People in suicidal crisis are experiencing such deep psychological pain that they cannot see another way out of their pain except death; given an option, they will choose the option. When people who are thinking of suicide are asked by someone they trust, “Are you thinking of suicide?” they will say yes. They want to live. Dramatic portrayal of a suicide death glamourizes suicide, and may trigger those who are already struggling with suicidal thoughts. Suicide is not glamorous; it is an act carried out in complete and utter desperation as a result of acute suffering.

Though suicide contagion is rare, it does happen, and especially in instances where suicide is not dealt with in a sensitive, responsible manner, as is set out by the media guidelines.  CSP urges those who are feeling suicidal to tell someone about their thoughts, and get help. Help is available!

In Canada, call Kids Help Phone at 1 (800) 668-6868 or visit the website to chat.

Contact: Crystal Walker, Communications Coordinator – [email protected] or (403) 245-3900 ext. 229

Related: Penguin-Random House Collaboration
CSP, along with the publishers of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, want readers to know that help is available for people who are suicidal.

13 Reasons Why novel study for teachers