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Is 13 Reasons Why Worth Watching? A Detailed Review

The Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher, has sparked intense discussion since its release in 2017.

Centered on the suicide of high school student Hannah Baker and the 13 cassette tapes she leaves behind explaining her reasons why, the show tackles heavy topics like bullying, sexual assault, and suicide.

So is 13 Reasons Why worth watching? Read on for a comprehensive review exploring the show’s merits and controversies.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: 13 Reasons Why offers an unflinching look at the issues facing teens today through strong acting and an absorbing mystery format.

However, its graphic depiction of suicide, violence, and assault has led many experts to criticize the show for glorifying these topics and potentially causing harm, especially in younger viewers.

An Absorbing Mystery Format

One of the main reasons why “13 Reasons Why” is worth watching is due to its absorbing mystery format. The show revolves around the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who takes her own life and leaves behind a series of cassette tapes explaining the reasons why.

This unique storytelling technique keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, as they are eager to find out the truth behind Hannah’s decision.

The Draw of Finding Out ‘Why’

The central question of “why” is what draws viewers into the world of “13 Reasons Why”. Each episode focuses on a different tape, revealing a new piece of the puzzle and shedding light on the events leading up to Hannah’s tragic death.

The show skillfully combines suspense, drama, and emotion to create a compelling narrative that keeps audiences hooked from start to finish.

Furthermore, “13 Reasons Why” explores important and relevant themes such as bullying, sexual assault, and mental health.

By delving into these issues, the show prompts important conversations and raises awareness about the struggles that many young people face in their daily lives. It serves as a reminder of the impact our actions can have on others and the importance of empathy and compassion.

Binge-worthy Cast Performances

Another reason why “13 Reasons Why” is worth watching is the exceptional performances delivered by the cast. The actors bring depth and authenticity to their characters, making them relatable and believable.

The show features breakout performances from young talents such as Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, and Alisha Boe, who captivate viewers with their nuanced portrayals.

Moreover, the chemistry among the cast members is palpable, adding an extra layer of realism to the story.

The interactions and dynamics between the characters are compelling and keep viewers engaged throughout the series. Each actor brings their A-game, delivering performances that are emotionally charged and impactful.

Raising Awareness or Glorification?

When it comes to the controversial series “13 Reasons Why,” there are differing opinions on whether it effectively raises awareness about important issues or if it simply glorifies them. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the argument.

Praise For Starting Important Conversations

One of the main arguments in favor of “13 Reasons Why” is that it has sparked meaningful conversations about difficult topics such as teen suicide, bullying, and sexual assault. The show’s raw and unflinching portrayal of these issues has prompted viewers to discuss and address them in their own lives.

Mental health organizations and suicide prevention hotlines have reported an increase in calls following the release of the show, indicating that it has brought more attention and resources to those in need.

Additionally, the show has been praised for its diverse cast and for shedding light on the struggles faced by marginalized communities.

Criticism For Graphic Portrayals

On the other hand, critics argue that “13 Reasons Why” crosses a line with its graphic and explicit depictions of sensitive topics. Concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact on vulnerable viewers, especially teenagers who may already be struggling with their mental health.

Some argue that the show romanticizes suicide and fails to provide sufficient resources for those who may be in crisis. Organizations such as the National Association of School Psychologists have issued warnings about the show’s potential harmful effects and have recommended caution when discussing it with young audiences.

It is important to note that opinions on the show’s impact are divided, and different individuals may have different reactions and interpretations. Ultimately, whether “13 Reasons Why” is worth watching depends on personal preferences and sensitivities.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, it is always recommended to seek professional help from a licensed therapist or counselor.

Guidance For Viewers and Parents

When deciding whether to watch the popular series “13 Reasons Why,” it is important for viewers and parents to have a clear understanding of the content and potential triggers. This detailed review aims to provide guidance in making an informed decision.

Content and Trigger Warnings

Before diving into the series, it’s crucial to be aware that “13 Reasons Why” contains sensitive and potentially distressing content, including depictions of suicide, sexual assault, self-harm, and bullying. These themes are explored in a raw and graphic manner, which may be triggering for some viewers.

It is recommended that individuals who are already struggling with mental health issues or have a history of trauma proceed with caution or avoid watching the series altogether.

Additionally, parents should be aware of the intense content and consider whether it is appropriate for their children, taking into account their age, emotional maturity, and ability to process such material.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or thoughts of self-harm, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional or contact a helpline immediately. Discussing the show with a mental health professional beforehand can also provide valuable insights and guidance.

Watching With Supervision

For those who do choose to watch “13 Reasons Why,” it is strongly recommended to do so with supervision, especially for younger viewers. Watching the series together allows for open discussions and the opportunity to address any questions or concerns that may arise.

Parents can use the show as a starting point to talk about important issues such as consent, healthy relationships, mental health, and the consequences of bullying. This can help create a safe space for dialogue and provide guidance on navigating difficult situations.

It’s important to remember that media can have a powerful impact on individuals, especially those who might be more vulnerable. By watching the series alongside their children, parents can offer support, provide context, and help process the emotions that may arise from the show.

Ultimately, the decision to watch “13 Reasons Why” should be made with careful consideration of one’s mental and emotional well-being. It is essential to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed.

What Experts Say

Concerns from Suicide Prevention Groups

When it comes to the controversial Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” many suicide prevention groups have expressed concerns about the potential negative impact it can have on vulnerable individuals, especially teenagers.

These organizations argue that the show’s graphic depiction of suicide and other sensitive topics may romanticize or glamorize self-harm, potentially leading to copycat behavior. They worry that the show fails to provide adequate resources or portray mental health issues accurately.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) are among the prominent organizations that have raised concerns about the show.

They emphasize the importance of responsible media portrayals of suicide and suggest that the series lacks appropriate content warnings and follow-up resources for viewers who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Studies on Effects in Youth

Several studies have been conducted to explore the potential effects of “13 Reasons Why” on youth. These studies aim to determine whether the show’s portrayal of sensitive topics, such as suicide and bullying, can influence behavior or mental health outcomes in young viewers.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found a significant increase in suicide rates among 10- to 17-year-olds in the month following the release of the first season of “13 Reasons Why.”

Researchers suggest that the show may have contributed to the rise in suicide rates, although other factors cannot be ruled out.

However, it is important to note that not all studies have reached the same conclusions. Another study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found no significant increase in suicide rates among young individuals following the release of the show.

The authors argue that more research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between media portrayals and suicidal behavior.

It is crucial for viewers, especially young ones, to consider the potential impact of the content they consume and seek support if they are experiencing distress. Resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and crisis text lines can provide assistance to those in need.

Alternatives Worth Considering

Shows Covering Similar Topics

If you’re looking for alternatives to “13 Reasons Why” that cover similar topics, there are several compelling options to consider. One popular show is “Euphoria,” which explores the lives of high school students dealing with issues such as addiction, mental health, and identity.

The series is known for its raw and realistic portrayal of these issues, and has garnered critical acclaim for its powerful performances and thought-provoking storytelling.

Another show worth checking out is “Big Little Lies” which may not directly address teen suicide, but delves into the complexities of mental health and domestic violence.

With an all-star cast and a gripping storyline, “Big Little Lies” offers a nuanced exploration of the repercussions of trauma and the importance of support systems.

If you prefer a documentary-style approach, “The Mind, Explained” is an excellent choice. This informative series, narrated by Emma Stone, explores various aspects of the human mind, including mental health disorders, memory, and dreams. It offers a scientific yet accessible perspective on these topics.

Resources on Mental Health

While television shows can provide valuable insights, it’s also important to seek out reliable resources on mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, there are numerous organizations and websites that offer support and information.

An excellent resource is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which provides education, advocacy, and support for individuals and families affected by mental health conditions. Their website,, offers a wealth of information on various mental health disorders, treatment options, and support resources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is another reputable organization that offers resources and assistance for mental health and substance abuse issues.

Their website,, provides access to a wide range of resources, including treatment locators, helplines, and publications.

Additionally, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to preventing suicide through research, education, and advocacy. Their website,, offers valuable information on suicide prevention, mental health resources, and support for individuals and families affected by suicide.

Remember, seeking help from professionals is crucial if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues. Reach out to a therapist, counselor, or helpline for immediate assistance. You don’t have to face these challenges alone.


In summary, 13 Reasons Why takes a thought-provoking, if controversial, approach to addressing the struggles today’s teenagers face. While the show has strengths in acting, mystery format, and starting conversations, its graphic content requires strong caution and guidance, especially for younger viewers.

There are some viable alternative shows and resources to consider. Ultimately, the choice comes down to each viewer’s preferences and sensibilities regarding difficult, mature content.

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