A 23-year-old in Peru has died by suicide and left behind recordings inspired by the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. According to the Peruvian news outlet, Diario Clarín, Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano jumped from the balcony of his fourth floor apartment after yelling "I can’t stand a heartbreak." His mother was present during the act. Medrano survived the fall, but was later pronounced dead at San Juan de Dios hospital.
Diario Clarín reports that police found two suicide notes in his home, one to a woman named Claudia and another listing names of people for whom he had recorded tapes, claiming these people were the ones who caused him to commit suicide.
While neither of the notes directly referenced 13 Reasons Why, leaving behind tapes for people after suicide is the main plot point of the Netflix hit. Detractors of the show criticised this aspect specifically, as they believed it suggested that suicide is sometimes "justified."
"I can't get it out of my mind so I have to say, I think 13 Reasons Why discusses teen suicide & depression in an unhelpful & unhealthy way," tweeted Degrassi actress Aislinn Paul. "If you're struggling and this show helped you somehow, that's great and I would never want to take that away from you. But if it made you feel worse, misunderstood, isolated, or triggered in any way, please reach out for help! @KidsHelpPhone: 1(800) 668-6868"
This backlash is what caused Netflix to strengthen the trigger warnings before the episodes in an effort to stop vulnerable people from watching something that could be harmful to their mental health.
"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about our series 13 Reasons Why," Netflix said in a statement to BuzzFeed. While many of our members find the show to be a valuable driver for starting important conversation with their families, we have also heard concern from those who feel the series should carry additional advisories. Currently the episodes that carry graphic content are identified as such and the series overall carries a TV-MA rating. 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 and have also strengthened the messaging and resource language in the existing cards for episodes that contain graphic subject matter, including the URL 13ReasonsWhy.info — a global resource centre that provides information about professional organisations that support help around the serious matters addressed in the show."
If you are thinking about suicide, please contact Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free and will be answered in confidence.