Have you heard abut “Thirteen Reasons Why” yet? It’s a 2007 novel written by Jay Asher that details a teenage girl’s suicide after a series of demoralizing circumstances. It’s been adapted to a Netflix series with thirteen episodes, each focusing on a reason the girl kills herself. The series is being praised in some quarters for its honesty, while reviled in others because of its graphic portrayal of the suicide itself, the romantic treatment it gives the characters, and for a lack of information about mental health supports available in the community for people who feel helpless about saving themselves.
NAMI, the America-based National Alliance for Mental Illness, issued a statement on their website detailing how harmful they felt the show to be in a press release called “13 Reasons Why Hurts Vulnerable Teens” at www.nami.org. They end their statement by saying,
“If you’re wondering why so many organizations and individuals felt the need to address the issues presented in 13 Reasons Why, it’s because suicide is the second leading cause of death for the primary demographic watching the show—people between the ages of 15 and 24. . . This topic should not be taken lightly or exploited for entertainment purposes. We all need to be aware of how suicide can and should be talked about in a way that doesn’t raise anyone’s risk for increasing that already too-high statistic. NAMI recommends caution in deciding whether to watch the show. It has the equivalent of an R-rating. It is best watched with other family members or friends. We recommend talking points developed by the Jed Foundation for use in making the decision and focusing conversations.”
Statements such as these are well and good in alerting someone to the dangers of watching this series. But I decided that instead of using my voice to denounce someone else’s artistic vision, I would use my voice to promote a more supportive and informative alternative to “13 Reasons Why” by producing a website that gives those of us who have considered suicide but rejected it a voice as well.
46 Reasons Why Not does exactly what its title says—it starts off with my forty-six reasons I listed for not killing myself. I’ve been suicidal on several occasions but always one or more of these reasons held me back from going through with it. I’ve written them down as a list that I keep around reminding me that my life is worth living. Each day I will post a new reason and explanation why that reason for living is important to me.
I have also invited others with various mental health issues to submit their reasons why they have not going through with killing themselves. The key is to list as many reasons as your age as a way to honor each year you’ve spent living on this earth. So some lists may by 40, others 54, or 38 or 13.
If you want to make a list and contribute to the site, simply leave a comment with in the About section of the site, and I will get in touch with you on how to participate. Let’s be supportive and find reasons to live instead of reasons to die.