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13 reasons why we need ‘13 Reasons Why’

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Phone courtesy by Google Images

Phone courtesy by Google Images

Cory Thaxton, [email protected]

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Suicide: It’s a serious issue that no one likes to talk about, even though we need to. I’m not going to make you sit and read all the facts about how suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens. What I will tell you is that the new Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” is what our society needs to start a conversation about this sensitive topic. And here are 13 reasons why.

1. It will start a conversation.

The show has become fairly popular since its premiere in March. People everywhere are talking about it. But if suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens, why did no one want to talk about it before?

Why is it just now getting attention? If we don’t talk about it, we can’t find a solution. Sure, there may not be a way to completely end suicides. If we stop being afraid to talk about it, for whatever reason, we could help those that may be hurting. It may even show that they are cared about and that people want to help.

2. It shows the warning signs.

For those that don’t know, “13 Reasons Why” is based on a book of the same name by Jay Asher. The story follows Clay Jensen after he receives a box of cassette tapes with the voice of his friend, Hannah Baker, on them. Each person in Hannah’s life, who she believes lead her to her death, has their own tape. On the tapes, she explains how each person did her wrong. But no spoilers, I promise. Throughout the show, you watch the downfall of Hannah’s life. You can tell with every thing that happens to her she gets closer to making that horrible decision. She could have gotten the help she needed, but even when she straight up asked for it, no one helped her.

3. It shows how even your friends can hurt you.

Nobody is perfect. We all know this. Not even our friends, the people we love and speak to every single day and hangout with on the weekends. I’m not saying not to trust your friends, just choose them wisely. Everyone on the tapes was, at one point, one of Hannah’s friends or someone she dated. Don’t let anyone treat you however they want and then blame you for the bad things that happen in your life.

4. It shows how family can contribute to the problem.

At first, Hannah and her parents’ lives are pretty normal, but once they start having financial problems things take a turn. Her parents start arguing often. It gets to the point to where they aren’t paying attention to her anymore. One day, Hannah accidently does something that makes them upset.

Later that night, she goes to take a walk outside, which leads to one of the last events before she killed herself. If you think your child is hurting, ask questions, and if you don’t know about anything in your child’s life, ask more questions. Get them the help they need. It may be the difference between life and death.

5. It shows that teachers and school administrators can lead to it.

Hannah’s communications teacher reads a letter to the class that someone left her. Turns out, Hannah wrote the note. In the note, she asked what someone should do if they no longer want to live.

The teacher talks about it for a second, but once the bell rang, nothing else was said. At the end of the series, Hannah goes to the school counselor, but he doesn’t help either.

If you or someone you know is hurting, go to a school counselor first, and if that doesn’t work, keep reaching out to people. I promise you will find someone that cares.

6. It shows how schools can prevent it.

Simply enough, if schools would have a more open-door policy about these kind of things, maybe some cases can be prevented. Students should have mandatory meetings with a counselor that aren’t just about scheduling classes.

7. It shows what schools don’t need to do.

Like I said in number five, teachers and administration can play a role. In the show, after Hannah’s death, the school put up all kinds of suicide prevention posters. I believe if the issue is taken more seriously from day one of school, it can help stop it from happening or help friends recognize the signs. In the show’s case, however, the posters kind of drove everyone crazy. Which leads me to number eight.

8. Let people heal naturally.

If someone has been heavily affected by the suicide of a friend or loved one, don’t force them to talk about it as soon as possible. It can be an incredibly confusing time with very little closure. Giving them time to heal may be what’s best for them. They will talk when they’re ready.

9. The show demonstrates how many people are affected by one person committing suicide.

Like I said, Hannah was friends with most of the people on the tapes. They were directly affected by the tragedy, but so was everyone else that is connected to them. It’s not just about you. It’s about everyone you know and everyone they know.

10. The show points out that rape is another serious topic that doesn’t get talked about enough.

I’m not going to spoil much, like I said, but there are two rapes in the show that lead up to the end. The person responsible doesn’t pay any consequences. This happens all the time in reality. In high school especially, there needs to be a system in place to report these happenings and they need to be taken seriously. Rape shouldn’t be something our society is desensitized to or comfortable with.

11. It teaches you to take responsibly for your actions.

Eleven is the magic number. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know why. The people that affected Hannah’s life so negatively ended up paying the price.

Karma is a you-know-what. If they had taken responsibility earlier, maybe Hannah would have still been alive. Be mindful of how you treat people. You never know how much of an effect you have on someone’s life. You never know what someone is going through.

12. It shows how to deal with pain.

It’s disguised, but it’s in there. There were things Hannah could have done to filter her pain. If you’ve seen the show, you know that just by talking to Clay after hitting rock bottom could have stopped her from ending her life.

13. It shows that people love you.

At the end of the day, there are people in this world that love you and would be lost if anything ever happened to you. Nothing in this world should be bad enough to end your life, especially if you have people that care about you.

Maybe you feel like no one does, but I’m sure there is at least one, even if it’s just God himself.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
13 reasons why we need ‘13 Reasons Why’