..and what I think about it
What is it?
13 Reasons Why is an american drama-mystery television series based on the novel “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. It was adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix.
The series revolves around this girl, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide and left behind a box of 13 cassette tapes on which she recorded the reasons that made her take her own life.
Each tape is dedicated to one person that had an impact on Hannah’s suicide, those people will receive the package of tapes, in the same order in which the girl recorded their stories, and have to pass it on to the next person. If they refuse to do so, a seperate set of records will be released to the public.
Watching the show we follow a high school student, Clay Jensen, as he listens to the tapes.
What can I say about it?
I watched the show twice and after thinking about it for quiet a long time I think I’ve formed my opinion on the show.
First of all, I disagree with so many things they did there, BUT I have to admit that watching it for the first time I actually thought that I liked the show a lot. I was literally in love with it.
But after watching it for the second time and thinking a lot about it, I figured I didn’t like the show itself, I liked that I found something I could use to trigger myself and make myself feel even more depressed.
And that’s the first and most disturbing thing about Thirteen Reasons Why, it’s honestly so triggering. There are like three or more episodes that show rape and sexual assault VERY GRAPHICALLY, as well as the suicide episode which shows Hannah’s suicide in a very unappropriate and dangerous way.
If you look up the guidelines on how to safely portray suicide on TV, you’ll recognize that they did absolutely everything they were warned not to do.
Second, I absolutely hate that they made Hannah’s suicide some sort of revenge and made it seem like there’s always a specific reason as to why someone takes their own life. (That’s not how it is!!!)
They also made all those people in Hannah’s life responsible for her actions. Yes, a lot of them have done her wrong in so many ways, but STILL suicide is always the decision of a single person! Nobody but Hannah herself took her life!
What – for me – probably seems like the most unbelievable thing is, that they didn’t talk about mental health A SINGLE TIME. Yes, we’ve heard Clay’s mother talk about him having night terrors and that he had to go to therapy, but they’ve never ever talked about Hannah’s depression or possible PTSD.
I simply can’t understand why a show that claims to educate on mental health issues doesn’t even mention this topic in its progress.
This is also what the next point is about. Hannah reached out, she asked for help, she went out and talked to the school counselor.
He kinda played down her problems, which probably happened because he didn’t know her and her story. As Hannah says that she’s been raped the counselor tells her that, in order to report this, he needs to know the name of the offender and a few more details, just as it has to be done in real life.
After hearing this Hannah walks out like “Well, I gave life one last chance, but they’re not gonna help me, now I’m definitely gonna kill myself.”
So basically the school counselor did his job and everything he could do in this certain moment. Yes, he could have been a bit warmer and may could’ve asked more about how safe or unsafe his student really is, but Hannah blaming the school counselor on not helping her is not okay.
For the producers, this point could’ ve been a really great time to bring in the support of others or at least the possibility of Hannah getting help. But it didn’t happen.
The reason why I think this is really bad is, that it actually discourages the viewers to reach out and seek help. For me it feels like they wanted to say that it’s a waste of time, and nobody’s gonna help you anyways. Somehow that’s exactly the opposite of the intention they had with this show.
PEOPLE IF YOU NEED HELP, YOU WILL GET HELP. PLEASE DO NOT STOP REACHING OUT, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT WILL LISTEN AND CARE.
In the process of the series a student dies in a car crash, which affects a lot of the other students in a negative way. The thing that bothers me about this episode is, that the school doesn’t do anything at all. They do not make sure their students are okay and able to deal with this on their own.
This is not how it is in real life. Most schools have suicide or crisis protocols and offer psychiatric or therapeutic help when things like this happen. Actually a school is obliged to make sure their students get help and the opportunity to talk to professionals after events like this.
Another thing that just doesn’t make sense to me is that after Hannah’s death Clay also shows symptoms of depression, but still, he doesn’t get any help. Even such a short time after already losing a student to suicide, they still don’t see the signs and offer the help they need. Wouldn’t the logical conclusion here be to educate the teachers and also the students on how to recognize when others are feeling depressed or suicidal?
What I also didn’t like was that there were sooo many issues shoved into one show, like, yes, this is a high school drama and high schoolers have a lot of issues, but Netflix seemed to want all of these at once just to get enough reasons for Hannah to kill herself in the end. And, for me, it’s really overwhelming and we tend to lose the storyline and the main topic it’s all about.
So, to sum it up..
In my opinion the show has a good intention and is based on a very good idea, but the realization has a ton of flaws.
I, personally, wouldn’t recommend watching this show unless you are feeling really stable and distanced from the topic.
Even if you feel like you do not get triggered easily, you will probably end up getting triggered.
If you still want to watch the show I would recommend to not watch it on your own or alone. You don’t know how you will react and you really shouldn’t risk being unsafe because of it.
For me, it’s NOT a show that raises awareness on mental illness, depression, bullying or suicide, nor does it EDUCATE its viewers on these topics.
I’m glad that there is a show about sensitive topics like mental health issues and suicide on traditional television and I think it’s really good to get these topics out of the taboo-zone.
The things I also liked about this show was that I could relate to a lot of things on a personal base. I really liked the way of filming it and the cinematography behind it.
But all in all, I think, it’s a show that isn’t suitable for a lot of viewers and should only be watched with care and background information on how to handle possible reactions.
Need help now?
- Call 911 or your national emergeny number.
- 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-8255)
- Text: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
- International Suicide Hotlines