The extremely graphic suicide scene at the end of 13 Reasons Why is difficult to watch. The lasting impact of depicting Hannah Baker's (Katherine Langford) intense suicide has become a highly-debated topic. Some believe that bluntly depicting the disturbing event — which I will not detail here, but it's absolutely gut-wrenching — is the most honest way to tackle the issue. Others point out that explicit descriptions and images of suicide increase the risk of others taking their lives, according to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. But the creative minds behind the story have their own reasons for addressing the scene as they did.
Jay Asher, who penned the 2007 YA novel upon which the hit Netflix show was based, told Entertainment Weekly that the showrunners wanted to film the scene in a way that showed the raw pain of the event without sensationalizing it. "They felt for a TV series, if you’re going to watch it, you want to show it as horrific as it actually is," Asher told EW. "So the way she does it, you can’t watch it and feel like it’s glamorized in any way. It looks and is painful, and then when she’s found by her parents, it absolutely destroys them."
13 Reasons Why creator Brian Yorkey, who also penned the script for the series — which may or may not be getting a season 2, according to Asher — said something similar in the making-of special, Beyond the Reasons. "We worked very hard not to be gratuitous," Yorkey said, per EW, "but we did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide." While the medium might be up for discussion, the message is definitively true.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.