The popular series made by Netflix that had caught

The recent years have
seen the rebirth and rising popularity of the web series. A concept that has
been initiated since the early 1990s, the web series or web TV has currently
gained a following through a slew of innovative, made-for-web content. Netflix,
an American company that provides streaming and video-on-demand services, has
latched on to this new-found appreciation made-for-web content.

One of the more popular
series made by Netflix that had caught the attention of the general public
is 13 Reasons Why, an adaptation of a book with the same
title. 13 Reasons Why tells the story of how the suicide of a
young girl has affected her friends, schoolmates, school administrators, and
family members. The critically acclaimed series has garnered generally positive
reviews and has attracted controversy due to the subject matter of the series –
mental health problems and suicide – and how these matters were handled
throughout the series.

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Rationale

In the Philippine
setting, the Mental House Bill Number 6452 or the “Comprehensive Mental Health
Act” has already hurdled two (2) readings at the House of Congress, while the
Senate version, Senate Bill No 1354 or the “Mental Health Act of 2017”, has
already passed the third and final reading in May 2017. Despite these strides
of development in the legislative arena, positive opinion in the realm of
entertainment about mental health has still been few and far between. Just this
October of 2017, Joey de Leon, a popular noontime TV host, drew flak online for
his dismissive remarks about mental health problems and depression.

 

As a possible means to
inform and sway opinion regarding mental health and depression, the power of
emerging and new media, such as the web series, can be harnessed. ’13 Reasons
Why’ can be a powerful platform to address the issues of mental health to a
targeted audience. The producers of this popular web series also maximize other
forms of media, such as the Facebook and website, both of which garnering
millions of likes and hits. ’13 Reasons Why’ establishes its presence in these
media with the hopes of spreading their message about teen depression and
suicide to wider audiences across the globe. With its messages prevailing in
the media platforms that are widely popular among the teens, the audience are
presented with different portrayals and representations of teen depression and
suicide that elicit various reactions and interpretations from the viewers. It
is therefore the hope of this study to explore how a certain group of audience,
especially those who have background knowledge in Psychology, responds to these
messages.

Statement of the Problem

        This study aims to
analyze how Senior Psychology students respond to the portrayals of teen
depression in Netflix Series’ “13 Reasons Why”. More specifically, this
research aims to meet the following objectives:

To draw a profile of senior
Psychology student-respondents and their background on mental health,
depression, and the web series, “13 Reasons Why”To explore how teen depression
is portrayed in the web series “13 Reasons Why'”To examine how Senior
Psychology students assess the portrayals of teen depression based on
their knowledge and experiences using Stuart Hall’s Reception TheoryTo find out to what extent do
senior Psychology students consider these portrayals positive or harmful
to the interests of people with depression in the Philippines;To explore what other kinds of
portrayals could have better presented teen depression in place of the
existing ones in the web series.

Significance of the
Study

        The study is deemed
significant in the field of media studies and mental health. By looking into an
emerging medium, specifically the web series, and by determining its potential
to send powerful images and messages to a wide range of viewers, findings from
this research might be helpful in contributing knowledge on media scholars and
different social institutions to maximize the use of the medium as an effective
tool for information-dissemination and advocacy campaign.

The research, with its
focus on teen depression and suicide, may be also deemed important and useful
for mental health professionals and the general public by identifying the
positive representations of depression and the people experiencing it,
especially the teens. By examining audience responses, results from this study
could open a new discourse on promoting a positive social consensus on how the
public perceives and interprets the images and messages portrayed by the media
in relation to depression, the sufferer, and mental health in general.