Reasons why you should not watch this show

Print Article

We need to be aware of suicide. On average, one Idahoan a day will take his or her life.

We need to talk about suicide. Only then can we help the subject shed its taboo skin.

What we cannot do, what we must not do, is glorify or justify or romanticize the act. Today there’s a preponderance of evidence showing that the likelihood of impressionable, distraught young people killing themselves increases if they’re exposed to suicide — through media or in real life and real death.

That’s why we find no legitimate defense for “13 Reasons Why” being disseminated as an “honest” tool “that will hopefully help people,” as its executive producer, Selena Gomez, suggests.

The series is entertainment of a very dangerous kind, and that’s not just our opinion. A growing force of mental health professionals is sounding the alarm that “13 Reasons Why” is hazardous to people’s health, a claim that’s being backed up in Kootenai County, where personnel are seeing a sudden spike in “acute hospitalization” of young people who have watched the show.

We know this sounds like a poorly conceived horror movie itself. For many of us, imagining that the influence of a TV series, a movie or social media could lead someone to actually take his or her life is difficult or impossible. Yet it happens. And it may be happening more because of “13 Reasons Why.”

Censorship is not the solution. Try to ban a popular program and you’re guaranteeing heightened interest in it. We also happen to have this enduring document called the U.S. Constitution that frowns on such things.

No, the best approach is to increase understanding of suicide, know the signs of someone in trouble, and be willing and able to help. Communication is a huge part of that. Sensationalizing the act, particularly for young audiences, is a direct path toward preventable tragedy.

It’s the policy of this newspaper not to shy away from reporting suicides. Per capita, Idaho consistently ranks among the states with the highest incidence of suicide. We mustn’t look the other way and pretend it’s not happening, because if we do that, help will never arrive for a problem people don’t realize exists.

But The Press takes care not to glamorize or sensationalize suicide when we know that’s the cause of death — a challenge in itself because of the stigma that clings so strongly to the subject.

We recommend focusing on reasons why life is worth living. There are far more than 13 of them.

For more information on suicide and how to give or get help, visit http://www.spanidaho.org/ or call the Suicide Prevention Action Network’s suicide prevention lifeline at 1-(800) 273-8255.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Getting Press readers, writers on the same page

June 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Despite greeting each other every morning and spending so much time together, often in jammies and slippers over a cup of hot coffee, newspaper reporters and readers apparently don’t know each other ...

Comments

Read More

Here’s what dads really want

June 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Editor’s note: This editorial was originally published six years ago today. It’s still true. If you beard-stubbled, equal opportunity gender watchers are still waiting for a movie titled “What Men ...

Comments

Read More

We could be looking at voter turnout wrong

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The quest started out as most modern searches do: Going to Google. “Ways to get young people to vote” was entered in the search box. More than 94 million options popped up, and after reading throug...

Comments

Read More

Summer’s coming: Let’s put our fires out

June 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press North Idahoans hadn’t even been able to tear June off their calendars last year before smoke made summer miserable. “Smoke Alarm: Washington blaze dirties local skies,” The Press headline read on Ju...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X