There’s a new on Netflix is a show called “13 Reasons Why” about a high school girl named Hannah who kills herself and makes 13 cassette tapes to tell her reasons why she killed herself. Now at first I was a bit skeptical about watching the show because well . . . let’s face it, no one is particularly thrilled to watch a show about why a young girl decided to kill herself. Not only does this subject alone makes people tend to shy away, when you add in the factors such as age, society and bullying . . . it makes the whole thing almost too much to bear watching.
I think the show does a great job depicting the life of Hannah. You can hear her words and emotions from the tapes she had created as you watch her and everyone around her go through the different events and scenarios that lead up to her last days. You also get to see and hear the stories of the people in her life and what they are going through during and after her life ended. That in its self I found to be fascinating because you often hear the victims story so you don’t think about how complicated everyone else’s life around them is as well. It is also interesting to see the effects suicide has on the people that are effected. Not just family members but the peers that knew the person.
Another aspect of this show I found interesting was really understanding the characters in the story. It reminded of my days in high school and the people I had encountered. As children, we are often so consumed with our lives and hormones we don’t see the different sides to the people in the other cliques on campus. For instance, one of the characters is a star basketball player who always appears so jovial and social. His parents also bought him a 60,000 car so from the outside he would appear to have it all. Or there is the cheerleader with the star athlete boyfriend with all her friends who also appears as if she has everything anyone could ever desire. Obviously, they are people so have they have feelings and home lives that no one is really aware of so to see them struggling with their insecurities and struggles was a good look. There’s so many movies that tend to put these caricatures of these high school stereotypes that make these characters non-believable.
I never experienced bullying growing up but I think it’s interesting how different it has come in the last 10 years. When I was growing up, I wasn’t aware of anyone really trolling around on Myspace, Blackplanet, or AIM. Also, not everyone was equipped with a smartphone or even a flip phone so life/social media wasn’t always “on”. I didn’t have to worry about someone taking screenshots or pictures and spreading my business. At that point it’s like teens getting bullied never find any peace and are always living in that hell. Something that most adults aren’t familiar with dealing with. So the parents in the series aren’t quite able to understand the children or get them to talk/open up to them.
Now I don’t want to give a way too much but this was definitely worth watching. For young people, maybe they can find more kindness to their fellow peers, find a reason worth living, and see how their choices impact the people they come in contact with. For adults, maybe they can more understand how different/difficult is for the teenagers growing up, the struggles they have to deal with, signs for trouble teens, and maybe a way to open the dialogue so that we can prevent the amount of suicides among our younger generations. If you don’t think that suicide is a problem amongst teens, then you are sadly mistaken because currently suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death. So even if you don’t go watch this series be aware of those around you and treat them with the same kindness and respect you would want to receive in return. It’s not cool to be a bully and lashing out at others will not ease your pain.
If you know someone who is suffering or contemplating suicide below is the link for the resources to find help for them.