We’ve all heard of Thirteen Reasons Why at this stage, perhaps most of you have watched it, maybe you have even watched it with your teens and it started a conversation. It’s a show that has come in for some harsh criticism, it’s been suggested that it is glorifying suicide, touting suicide as the ultimate revenge. Having watched the series, I don’t agree.
Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the 2007 book written by Jay Asher, tells the story of Clay who finds a box of tapes on his porch that have been recorded by his friend Hannah Baker prior to her taking her own life. Each side is one of 13 reasons why Hannah felt she had no other option but to end her life. Hannah narrates the series, telling her story, conveying to us the hows and the whys.
It’s easy be critical of the show, kids continuously left home alone, parties when they like, endless supplies of alcohol and cash to buy the alcohol, coming and going as they please; all very unrealistic surely? Possibly in parts yes, it’s a show; do you believe the smurfs are real and Mary Poppins bag really did carry that much?? Of course not, so look beyond the aesthetics of the show; look closer.
Listen to Hannah Baker’s 13 reasons, they’re really not so different to what some of our teens maybe going through today….
- Rumours: False rumours destroy reputations and cause such anxiety for the person at the centre of them. This happens in real life, all around us, not only among our teens.
- Comparisons: Nobody likes to be compared to another, nobody wants to be know as ‘that girl with the best whatever’ or ‘that boy with the worst whatever’. I may not be down with the kids but I know that behaviour is just not cool.
- Pretence: It happens all the time. Claiming friendship for your own gain. Hurtful doesn’t come close.
- Breaking Trust: Again this happens so often and again, not just among teens. It is such a betrayal to have a confidence broken.
- Sexual Assault: How many victims suffer in silence? It doesn’t bear thinking about but it should be; and it should be talked about, not brushed under the carpet in the hope that it will go away.
- Help: Or lack of…..Hannah Baker turned to her counsellor for help, she didn’t get the response she needed. How often have we heard harrowing tales of those who sought help, didn’t get it and took their own lives? Too often.
Thirteen Reasons Why is a tv show, yes. It’s unrealistic at times but there is no denying how close to the bone it is too. It doesn’t glorify suicide in my opinion. It highlights the anxieties of many teens worldwide, the devastation bullying causes, the raw grief that comes from tragic loss, it’s plain to see from the outset that suicide is not the answer.
If you’re concerned about someone, ask the questions; ‘Are you okay?’, ‘Can I help?’, ‘Do you need to talk?’ Talk to your kids, don’t judge them on their thoughts and remember, what may seem trivial to us is massive to them. If this show sparks conversation and gets people talking, that’s surely not a bad thing. For too long now suicide has been something that families were supposed to feel ashamed of and they shouldn’t. Suicide affects so many families. It is ok to talk about suicide, to have open and honest conversations.
SAMARITANS – Longstanding & trusted, Samaritans volunteers provide confidential support, befriending and listening to those in personal crisis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Helpline: Freephone 116 123 (callers from Rep of Ireland)
- N Ireland Helpline: 08457 90 90 90 (callers from N. Ireland)
PIETA HOUSE – Suicide support service – free helpline & face to face counselling support. For information & branches nationwide, see pieta.ie
- Helpline (24hr): 1800 247 247
CHILDLINE – ChildLine is a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people up to 19 years of age.
- Helpline (24hr Freephone): 1800 66 66 66
TEEN-LINE IRELAND – A helpline for young people who feel lonely, anxious, vulnerable, depressed or suicidal.
- Helpline (Freephone): 1800 833 634 (8pm-11pm)
As a member of the Netflix Ireland Stream Team I have received complimentary Netflix membership and in return will be featuring Netflix related blog posts. All opinions are my own!