NOTE: I have exactly zero qualifications when it comes to having the right to comment on what you should be or not be watching. The following is simply my experience as a mother, wife and friend. If you are experiencing a difficult time in your life then I implore you to should seek help through your doctor or give Lifeline a call on 13 11 14.
Last night I finished watching the Netflix Original television series 13 Reasons Why and I say without hesitation that I recommend that you watch it too. The show is intense. It is heartbreaking and powerful. It is tragic and overflowing with grief. I know its not really a good way to sell it, but 13 Reasons Why is not a show filled with optimism or the hope of tomorrow but rather a sense of urgency to look at those around you.
13 Reasons Why is based around the suicide of 17 year old school student Hannah Baker. Before she takes her own life Hannah releases 13 tapes that describe in graphic detail the people she says contributes to her death.
The story is part mystery – part crime drama as it follows the lives of a cluster of students at Liberty High School. There are all the usual players, the jock, the cheerleaders, the nerd and the outcasts. The show follows each of their stories and the role they allegedly play in Hannah’s decision to commit suicide.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
This is FAR from an easy watching show, it will make you uncomfortable and uneasy. 13 Reasons Why covers a range of issues from sexual assault to bullying. It continues all the way to parental expectation and unspoken desires. There is legal injustice and a clear display of a lack of help to someone who is in desperate need.
This show is completely frustrating and provides the viewer with a confetti mix of emotions. I cried, I laughed, I sobbed and I literally felt ill. This show is graphic in its truth and I have zero doubts that all teenage girls experience at least one of the circumstances that happen to Hannah.
This show will stay with me for always, I can just feel it in my soul. As a mother to three daughters this show depicts almost every one of my fears for them as they grow into women. I truly believe that watching this show may cause distress to some, especially those who are already experiencing mental health issues but on the same token it has the power to save someone by opening a line of communication.
What this show does display is a beautifully raw depiction of what is unfortunately a truth for many young girls in our community. It shows how quickly a person can feel overwhelmed and not as though they have many answers.
This show presents an opportunity for incredibly important conversations to be started. It is perfectly clear that due to our increasing suicide rate that there is not nearly enough discussion surrounding mental health issues. This show provides me with conversation topics to speak with my children about, it provides topics that need to be addressed even if they are uncomfortable. Yes, the graphic nature of the show is strong, but so is the message of helplessness and ultimate accountability. If this show provides one person a reason to ask another person if they are okay then all of sudden it makes it worthwhile.
I say this with a clear and strong warning, this show is confrontational. It will have many triggers for those in the community who have experienced trauma. You should not watch this show alone because I truly believe it needs to be discussed with someone.
The main outcome of the show for me was seeing that no matter how desperately helpless life can seem, you are only seeing your own truth. Hannah truly believed she has no other option but little did she see how much others around her truly needed her. There are two sides to every story and it is important to reach out to hear the other side before only believing your own.
13 Reasons Why may not be for everyone but I think it shows that suicide is a desperately permanent solution to a temporary feeling in life. Suicide is preventable but only if the signs and screams for help are seen by someone else.
LIFELINE: 13 11 14