I finally finished 13 Reasons Why and wanted to share my thoughts. 13 Reason Why is a Netflix show based on a book about a teenager who commits suicide and leaves behind tapes explaining the 13 reasons why she decided to take her own life. The tapes dive into some deep issues such as stereotypes, rape, and cyberbullying. This has been a controversial show for obvious reasons.
13 Reasons Why is raw and real. This show is heavy. It's not for everyone. I encourage you to take caution when watching. I watched in small doses. It talks about the hard stuff. I thought it was beautifully written to encourage viewers to take responsibility for their words and actions. Through out the show there are many instances showing how a rude comment or, what seems to be, a small incident can have a huge impact.
When Hannah reaches out for help from her school counselor and doesn't receive what she needs, it's heartbreaking. When it comes to mental health, it takes courage to take that first step and admit that you need help. To walk into that office and ask for help only to be told to move on is unacceptable. The hard part is, this is a reality for a lot of people. Some people are not able to get the resources that they need. Receiving help can be harder than just asking.
In my struggle with anxiety I was lucky enough to have a supportive family that allowed me to find a counselor off campus. Not everyone has this luxury, whether from a financial standpoint or being discouraged by the first time an individual asks for help, this is something that needs to be addressed. School plays a big role in mental health in many ways. Students experience massive amounts of stress and bullying at all levels: elementary, junior high, high school, and college. Schools need to make the well being of the whole student a top priority by providing access to an abundance of mental health resources. School counselors can be overworked and students deserve better. While I think school counselors are a wonderful resource and some schools are making mental health a priority, the reality is mental health in schools is still an issue. Recently this has been a relevant issue at the college level, but I have also witnessed this in some low income communities I work with. Some of the elementary school kids I work with utilize their school counselor, but they need more. They don't get the one on one time they need and some of their concerns might be better handled outside of school.
I think 13 Reasons Why can also show parents that what you might see as irrelevant high school drama can really have an impact on kids. The story line encourages parents and friends to look for signs and take responsibility when it comes to caring for others.
Clay is my favorite character. Clay embraces his feelings despite others trying to shut him down. He is confident that in order for him to heal he must acknowledge the pain and face his feelings. I admire his courage and think we can all learn something from this character. It is okay to feel pain. One of my favorite lines was when Clay was promoted with the question "Are you okay?" and responds "No, is that okay?" It's okay not to be okay. Feelings are real and as human as we can get. Embrace them and ask for help when they get to be too much.
I think 13 Reasons Why is a beautifully written show that highlights real struggles. I would absolutely recommend it, if you are in a solid mental state. If you are struggling please know you are not alone. Your feelings are real and honest and I encourage you to reach out to someone.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255