Why ’13 Reasons Why’ Can Help

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Yes, I agree, this programme is graphic and harrowing and completely devastating for both teenagers and adults.

As I eagerly anticipate the second season being dropped on Netflix soon (and, yes, I was one of those people who believed the rumour that it was going to be delivered to us on 31st March 2018) I thought it would be a good idea to rewatch the first season so that I’m equipped and well-prepared for the second season.  Needless to say, it was still as harrowing as the first time I watched it.

Now, when I watched 13 Reasons Why last year, I just had to binge and I was engrossed from start to finish.  At the start, I could not imagine Hannah’s character being able to portray a depressed teenager as she seemed so perky and upbeat; then, I remembered that it’s not an overnight thing that happens.  You don’t wake up one day thinking “Oh, OK, I’m depressed now”.  No, it’s something that chips away at you, sending you spiralling or coasting towards a black hole without you realising.

However, I digress, as this post is not written to tell people of what depression looks like or how it happens (although I strongly advise people to research the warning signs as this may help recognise when someone needs help, as depression can take over anybody).

No, the reason why I feel so compelled to write this blog today is that I’m seeing online that a Parent Action group are pleading with Netflix to delay the release of the second season of 13 Reasons Why and I feel slightly anguished by it.

Please do not misconstrue this as an unsympathetic, turn up of the nose or think that I do not care what the parents think because I’m more concerned about a TV show being aired.

No, no, NOPE!

That is not the case.  If anything, I feel so dramatically concerned for any parent who has a teenage, or even adult, son/daughter who is feeling vulnerable in any way and the reason why I feel so anguished is because, although the show is unforgivably graphic, this is what many people need to see in order to feel that they are not alone in the world.

I completely understand how parents may feel that the show glamourised suicide as the show is very dramatic in parts, but I don’t know what the alternative would be to show people, especially teenagers who are dealing with such emotional turmoil and angst, that the end is exactly that, the end!  But not only that, it also shows the after-effects surrounding the people who loved her; the scene where Hannah is found by her parents absolutely destroyed my heart because it would be the worst thing for any parent to discover, let alone deal with, and their reaction was genuinely portrayed and if this can be prevented for any parents, I really hope that it can.

So, I wanted to share my anguish at the thought of not allowing teenagers to be exposed to the fact that they do not have to suffer in silence, and that their actions will have consequences and impact on a web of people who love them.

I know of a couple of people (who are now mid-20s) who dealt with similar emotions during their teenage years and 13 Reasons Why allowed them to open up to their parents and have brutal, honest conversations with them.  These people shared their story with me and explained how they had suppressed their demons for almost ten years because they were embarrassed to tell anyone, especially their parents, that they were thinking of doing ‘the worst’ at some point in their life.  13 Reasons Why allowed them to open up and confront the terrors within their minds because it has made people (teenagers/adults) and their parents more aware of mental health issues.

So, yes, the drama of 13 Reasons Why may have seemed theatrical and very ‘Hollywood’ in places, but if it allows people to realise that their thoughts are not “stupid” and it encourages them to speak up, then hopefully more lives will be saved and they will know that there will always be a better option.

Mental health is an issue that I hold dearly to my heart and I apologise if this blog post has come across negatively in any way as this has not been my intention; I just hope and pray that people (of all ages!) are able to speak to someone, anyone, about any dark thoughts that they may have.

If anyone does need someone to speak to regarding thoughts or issues that they are having, please call the samaritans.org on 116 123 (UK and ROI) or visit 13reasonswhy.info for crisis helplines.


p.s. Please let me know if this blog post appears negative in any way and I can alter it accordingly.  Like I said, mental health is an issue close to my heart and I believe that it should not be a taboo subject anymore.

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