’13 Reasons Why’: Father Mike Schmitz Talks Choosing Hope Instead of Suicide

In this new video, speaker and college chaplain Father Mike Schmitz takes on the issue of suicide and the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”

His biggest problem is that the show depicts suicide as a revenge story, in which a troubled teen girl takes her own life and leaves behind recorded explanations of why it’s the fault of many people around her. But, as Father Mike points out, it’s not the suicide victim’s enemies who will suffer, but instead it’s those who cared about the person who will be hardest hit.

He also discusses the Church’s stance on suicide, and how people may not always be morally responsible for what they do.

Take a look:

Back in June, our own Catholic-mom blogger, Korbi Ghosh Biggins, who’s also a licensed marriage and family therapist, wrote a detailed review of “13 Reasons Why.”

Click here for the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt that relates to Father Mike’s point:

While the series certainly opens the door to explore and discuss difficult subjects with teenagers, it also portrays suicide —and the process by which a person may get to that place in life— quite inaccurately. “13 Reasons” depicts Hannah’s decision as an act of revenge against the people who hurt her or let her down. In reality, people at risk for suicide are very rarely thinking about others when contemplating or preparing to end their life. Suicide is a mental health issue and the vast majority of people at risk are suffering from a debilitating mental health disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder.

Traumatic events, like being raped or mercilessly bullied, can certainly contribute to the onset of mental-health issues like depression. However, post-traumatic stress, depression and bipolar disorder are all treatable. There is a way out for those who feel trapped in hopelessness — ways that do not include suicide. Unfortunately, “13 Reasons Why” fails to give the viewer any credible insight into their options for seeking help, which is troubling and dangerous.

In fact, the series seems to effectively romanticize suicide. I would go as far as saying that, for the impressionable and possibly desperate, it glamorizes suicide to some degree.

Please do watch Father Mike’s video and read Korbi’s whole piece — then share both with anyone you know who might be contemplating suicide or connected to someone that is.

You could save a life … maybe even your own.

Incidentally, “13 Reasons Why” is returning for a second season. The deceased main character, Hannah (Katherine Langford), will make some sort of appearance. Here’s a tidbit from Refinery29.com about the theme of the sophomore season:

One thing that we should definitely expect, according to [series star] Dylan Minnette’s new interview with Entertainment Tonight‘s Katie Krause, is for season 2 of the series to focus on “recovery.”
“[The new season] kicks off a few months after season one,” Minnette explained to ET. “This season particularly is a lot about recovery.”

Images: Courtesy Netflix, Pixabay, Father Mike Schmitz

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