The realistic portrayal of mental illness in television and movies can be an effective way to reduce stigma around psychiatric issues. But it can be troubling if those portrayals do not show options for treatment. A new Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, has a large following on social media and has garnered media attention for its stark depictions of bullying, rape and suicide. It has also caused some to express concern that the show is “at odds with the way experts say we should talk about suicide,” a Washington Post article reports. Suicide prevention advocate MollyKate Cline told Teen Vogue, “my problem is that the audience is shown what not to do without examples of what they actually should do.”
What should you do when faced with issues of bullying, depression, trauma and suicide? Seeing these issues in pop culture can help to reduce stigma and shame around mental health, but it is just as important to learn the facts about mental health issues and seek reliable treatment.