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Mental Health – My thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

Trigger Warning – This post talks about Mental Health, Suicide, Self Harming and other similar topics.

Like so many other people, I was drawn into the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why“, based on the book by the same name. I binge watched the 13 episode series over 2 days and was warned by multiple people not to watch the last episode alone. I’ve seen a few facebook/twitter posts and read a few articles and I just wanted to touch on a few things. Share my opinion and my story.

Going into the TV show, I knew the basic premise. That it dealt with a suicide and high school students. Even if you didn’t know that before watching, you pick it up pretty quickly. The following episodes focus on Clay listening to a series of tapes left by Hannah explaining the downward spiral that led to her suicide.

Mental Health - My thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

It’s raw and rough to watch, but relatable. I am forever thankful I went to high school in a time before most social media took off. For me, it was emails and ICQ. High school was still a horrible experience for me, but I can only imagine how much worse it could have been. I share some of my thoughts on my high school years over here “Was high school really hell?

I’ve had mental health issues from an early age. I started councilling in Year 3, I started self-injuring in Year 7, I’ve attempted suicide and I’ve had a good friend, as well as a family member, die by suicide. Watching the show, I understood a lot of what Hannah was thinking.

A lot of people are saying that the last episode is too graphic. It isn’t right to show such a detailed suicide scene, that it glorifies suicide. This is the scene I was warned about, and to be honest, it didn’t shock me. You knew it was coming. Sure, you don’t expect to see such a scene in a TV show, but it’s suicide. It isn’t pretty and they didn’t paint it to be pretty. They showed the helplessness of it, the desperation of it, the commitment, the utter resignation that this is the best possible thing that can be done. Through the whole series, you see the aftermath of what this moment leaves behind, but in this last episode, you also witness the moments straight afterwards. The finding of the body, the shock and the heartbreak it causes. I think if anything, it shows suicide as it can be. Sure, it could give someone ideas, but it’s more likely to save someone’s life.

Mental Health - My thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

One thing that sat with me throughout the whole series was the tapes. I guess these are left as a sort of suicide note, a telling of her side of her story, of pointing fingers and trying to make sure that some people knew the truth. I’m not sure what her end goal of making them was, but I feel that a lot of it was very hurtful and selfish. Then again, suicide is both hurtful and selfish. I can honestly say that the main reason I am still here today is because of other people. I’ve felt and seen the hurt that suicide leaves behind. It’s horrendous. In saying that, she is a teenager, and hey, before my last attempt, I would have been very happy to have left a big “fuck you” in the form of similar tapes to a few people who propelled me into feeling that suicide was my best option.

I’ve also seen a few people saying that Hannah is over-dramatic. No. I can’t stop you for thinking that, but YOU never know what someone else is feeling. Everyone feels things differently. As someone who has BPD, I get this, for me, molehills ARE mountains. Hannah does actually have a lot of the BPD traits, and I find it interesting that mental health was never actually brought up at all in the series.

I think mental health and suicide needs to be talked about more, it’s one of those things that gets pushed aside, whispered in secret, swept under the rug. It shouldn’t, suicide is real and it’s something that a hell of a lot of people consider at some point in their life. I don’t know if it’s talked about more in schools these days, but it was never mentioned when I was there. My school counsellor had me talk to my parents because she wasn’t able to give me the help I needed, but I only visited the counsellor because my friends were worried and told my year advisor.

So yeah, those are my thoughts. It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and talked through my thoughts and feelings on something, but this show left me feeling a lot of things.

Lifeline 13 11 14.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Have you watched the show? What did you think?