Suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.K. with around 4,400 people ending their own lives each year. As well as this, over 3.2 million students worldwide are victims of bullying within their school community which can often contribute to the rise in suicides with young people.
As someone who has struggled with mental health, suicidal thoughts and bullying, I was intrigued when the internet blew up with new Netflix show 13 Reasons Why based on the book by Jay Asher. It tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who killed herself and left thirteen tapes with thirteen reasons why she did it. Now, I found this show to be, not exactly enjoyable, but very well made. Despite this, it is one that I would advise people to approach carefully and to read the trigger warnings that have been floating around the internet, especially if you think that you would be triggered by themes of r*pe, ab*se and suicide.
But this is not what I wanted to talk about. I knew that the show would make me feel upset and I saw myself in both Clay and Hannah as someone who had been in that struggle and someone who had lost a close friend to their own struggle. What I didn’t expect to feel, which I am feeling like a burning fire, is anger. I am angry that it has taken a show for people to realise that their actions have consequences and can often cost someone’s life; for people to realise that things that they say can be damaging because you don’t know what that person has gone through.
Quite often, we are too quick to judge people and I found myself doing that when I watched this show. The show through characters at you in a negative light with only Hannah’s voice telling you what she thought of them, but the minute you found out what their home life was like or what had happened to them, you found yourself realising that you were making assumptions and disregarding anything other than what you were told by our lead character.
Even though this story has touched so many people and made them realise that you should be careful with what you say, I am angry that this probably won’t change anything in the way in which we treat our peers and how we tackle difficult issues. The school system is incredibly flawed with the way that it treats children that have got mental health issues and I don’t think that a television show would change this.
Another thing that I would like to add is that so many people die by their own hand each year and they should be remembered. The suicide scene in this show was incredibly graphic but it was raw and painful to watch which is how suicide should be treated. It’s viewed upon as weak to end your life, but you see Hannah cry out in pain showing that it isn’t easy to do.
So I really think that this show delivers a strong and powerful message to the viewers and I would highly recommend it but with caution. Although the show has many messages, there is one that I would like to pass onto you and would hope that you carry into the world: be kind, always.
Thank you for reading and I’ll post again soon, Hollie x