There has been quite a lot of publicity about “13 Reasons Why”, the show about teenage suicide on Netflix. There has also been considerable backlash on why 13 Reasons Why is not a beneficial show. The complaints cite that the show is glamorizing suicide. I question how many of the critics have actually watched the show. And I think they are missing the bigger point.
I binge watched “13 Reasons Why”. I don’t have children. So why did I watch then show until 3 am? I saw myself in the show. Or at least I saw the teenage me. Not the main character, one of her “friends”. If you’re a parent of a teenager, you can probably find yourself if the show
Were you the depressed teen planning on suicide?
Were you the overachiever with the big secret to hide?
Were you the kid from the wrong side of the tracks, trying to impress the rich kids?
Were you the teen that drank too much to numb the pain?
Were you the one who created drama with your friends to make yourself feel more important?
Were you the nerd who followed around the pretty girl, hoping for crumbs?
Were you the side-kick who always came in second to your more popular best friend?
Were you the outcast who used other kids to boost your self esteem?
Were you the guy who treated girls like meat and used them for sex?
Were you the one who didn’t think the rules applied to you?
Were you the one who looked the other way?
So maybe you weren’t one of these kids. Maybe you had pieces of a couple of Hannah’s classmates. Even if you don’t see yourself, do you remember the kids who do fit in one of those characters? Do you remember the girl who was labeled a slut because of rumors that turned out to be untrue? The guy who thought his daddy could buy him out of thinking "no means yes"? The dorky kid that was in love with the homecoming queen? The homecoming queen who played a prank on the nerd letting him think she would be his date to prom?
Times have changed, but the characters in 13 Reasons Why were around in the 80's, the 60's, the 40's. And with the ever present social media, the harmful things kids do to each other spread faster and gain a increased level of brutality. The points I took away from watching this show were the following:
Little things can pile on to cause a huge thing
Talk to your kids, watch the show with them, anything you can do to facilitate conversation
If you or anyone you know need help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255;
Safety Planning App - my3app.org
Crisis Text Line - Text Start to 741 741; crisistextline.org
Trevor Project - 1-866-488-7386; trevorproject.org
Trans Lifeline - 877-565-8860; translifeline.org