23-Year-Old Imitates '13 Reasons Why' and Commits Suicide
Experts' worst fears have been realized after a 23-year-old in Peru committed suicide after [...]
Experts' worst fears have been realized after a 23-year-old in Peru committed suicide after apparently being inspired by Netflix's controversial show, 13 Reasons Why.
Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano jumped from a fourth story apartment, according to Peruvian news outlet Diario Clarín, PEOPLE reports. Though he survived the fall, he later succumbed to his injuries at the San Juan de Dios hospital.
It is the actions he took before his death, however, that are drawing comparisons to the breakout series.
13 Reasons Why tells the story of high school student Hannah Baker, who has taken her own life. It explores the lead-up to her decision, as well as her classmates' lives in the wake of her death, through a series of recordings she left behind. In the show, which is based on a book of the same name, Hannah Baker leaves a tape recording behind for every person who she felt caused her death.
Police officials in Peru allegedly found multiple suicide notes in the Lazo's apartment as well as instructions to send tapes of pre-recorded messages on his computer to certain people. These people were supposedly the ones who had caused him to decide to end his life.
Though there is no proof that Lazo was directly inspired by the plot of the movie, it is hard to deny the similarities between the facts and the fictional story.
From the beginning, mental health experts were troubled by the narrative structure of the show and its depiction of suicide.
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As mental health advocate and suicide attempt survivor Alyse Ruriani wrote on The Mighty, "To perpetuate the idea there is a straight, linear path to why a suicide happened by pointing fingers at peers, parents or another individual, is harmful. Suicide is a complex issue and it cannot be defined by placing the onus on someone else... It is upsetting to see a suicide portrayed as the suicidal person wanting others to feel guilty, rather than focusing on the person's emotions and thoughts."
Not only does the show play up the idea of a suicide as a simple effect from a cause, it also breaks many of the cardinal recommendations laid out by experts who have spent years researching the least harmful way to portray suicide on television, facing criticisms for glamorizing suicide and for depicting the actual action.
Netflix did bring in multiple experts to work on the show, including psychologist and executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education Dan Reidenberg, who recommended they drop the project entirely.
More: Selena Gomez Weighs In On '13 Reasons Why' Backlash
In response to the criticism, Netflix issued a response and added a new viewer warning.
"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series, 13 Reasons Why. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting an important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories," said Netflix in a statement. "Moving forward, we will add an additional viewer warning card before the first episode as an extra precaution for those about to start the series."
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to one of the resources below:
National Suicide Prevention online chat
National Suicide Prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Photo Credit: Netflix0comments