Alright, Let’s talk about the N in Netflix. I’m over it. No More Hating on Netflix 13RW. My colleagues may not agree, but I like the fact that 13RW has opened up a new global conversation about suicide. We need to be talking about it - whether we are for the show, against it, or on the fence.
The fact is if we don't openly and bravely talk about suicide, and more importantly suicide prevention we can never find our way to #ZeroSuicides.
That's the goal of any suicide prevention agency, organization, company, non profit, or foundation. The goal is to put us all out of a job.
I won't go over the overly publicized flaws, myths, and misnomers of suicide depicted in the show. I think we’ve read enough of that already. Lets actually talk solutions.
Just to be clear, I do wish that 13RW and its producers would consider placing the national suicide prevention lifeline National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800.273.8255 and the Crisis Text Line by texting CNQR TO 741741 at the end of every episode. I've signed the petition online encouraging this exact outcome.
That said, the show is out, and it's one of the most successful shows in Netflix history. At this point it's quite clear, this show and all it's controversy is not going anywhere. Trying to shut it down (as some are advocating for) is a lost cause, and not realistic.
Instead, what we the suicide prevention, and mental health community can do is work with companies like NF collaboratively to build from here.
With the help of multi media companies, and enormous media groups utilizing their far reaching voices, and might, we will make a difference in how suicide is portrayed. Media across all of its many platforms is currently the fastest and most creative way to reach people struggling on a massive scale. Instead of fighting, and arguing over semantics, we need co come together, and make real change. We can turn the tide, and eradicate all of the bad press, the shaming, and blaming game. We must look deeper into the public health crisis across the world that is suicide. The fact that 13RW is so popular, is a show of how far our society has fallen, not a show of bad creator content. People have a morbid curiosity, it is why tragically, as many viewers watch live Facebook videos of horrendous violent, homicidal or suicidal acts. Our society and culture is in crisis. The least of our problems lies within a TV show.
With the entertainment moguls of the world now looking into suicide prevention safe, and production safe messaging. We can encourage media outlets to take into account many of the millions of film and TV viewers (online or otherwise) from around the world who have been through traumas relating to suicide, and mental health. Viewers who live with mental illnesses, self harm struggles, substance use, or have been sexually assaulted, I am sure would certainly appreciate more sensitive filmmaking across the board.
I.E. This is not just a Netflix solve. We can urge film and TV producers to look into the systemic issues of our societal woes, and myths, and in doing so, become more sensitive to accurately portray common suicide related truths. Thus engaging with media to create content that helps and heals rather than devastates and demeans. Then, and only then, can we build the future of film.
Conversely, where then does it stop. Do we remove homicidal scenes from shows like Law & Order and Criminal Minds. Both widely known for graphic and sensational scenes of violent murder, and sexual assault. Would we then find ourselves and the production houses of the world creating potentially censored material. I believe there are ways to be sensitive, appropriate, and suicide prevention safe, all the while not losing a filmmakers ability to truly create.
With this outpouring of opinion on NETFLIX's 13RW we the prevention community have an opportunity to help media work harder to create content that helps rather than hurts.
I am for one glad NF took this unflinching approach. Had they not, folks like me would not be able to debate the issue within the media at all on shows like Australias Studio 10 last week.
I sincerely hope this is just the beginning of Netflix approach to suicide related topics. I hope this debate helps them learn how to move forward instilling hope not fear, education as apposed to sensationalism. I think they and producer Selena Gomez and her team have done something remarkable.They've broken open an immeasurable amount of worldwide talk about what it means to be suicidal. They are in turn showing many parents some of the true difficulties that face our youth and children today. They are especially opening eyes into relentless school setting in the social media age. Agree to disagree if you will, but the tide is shifting toward the side of Zero.
It's also important to remember NF's purpose is to entertain. Their goal is to make watchable relatable content. Frankly, they've done their job. Now it's up to the prevention community to create something multi media magical that helps save lives.
Spoiler Alert my team at
My team and I at 17th & Montgomery Productions are currently working on something BIG of that very nature as I tap this blog into my iPhone 30,000 miles above the ground.
And hell, if your audience wants to find amazing suicide prevention safe, wellness messaged, multi media content with ease...at the risk of sounding self serving, go to my free downloadable Mental Health Media co. online channel right now at
Waiting for you are a plethora of usable videos discussing all mental illnesses, mental health challenges, substance use issues, and suicide. All the while simultaneously entertaining, educating, and intriguing your unquiet mind.
Our motto -
All mental health all the time & you best believe every bit of it is absolutely filled with hope!