13 Reasons to Watch 13 Reasons Why

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From Acting NT: Many mental health advocates have objected to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which centers around the suicide of a teenage girl. Here are 13 reasons why it is important for mental health advocates to watch the show.

“None of the characters, least of all Hannah herself, ever suggest that what she really needed was to be locked up in a psychiatric prison where she can be somehow healed by additional violence against her. Not only would such a statement have been patently untrue, it would have once again undermined the apparently controversial message that people are responsible for each other’s well-being. If suicide prevention is the responsibility of some professional psychologist in some hidden facility, then it doesn’t have to be yours. You have permission to ship people off and wash your hands of it. Out of sight, out of mind.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Okay, this blog post is the first one that’s given me any reason to feel like I should risk the triggering to watch the show. Though one of his points is now moot as Netflix has added warnings and the national suicide Lifeine number to every episode. I am currently reading Thinking About Suicide and have found the first-person perspective to be refreshing and validating. Would recommend it to others.

  2. I watched the whole thing, and it’s not easy, especially the last 2 episodes. But it is very worthwhile, and I am very grateful they portrayed everything the way they did. In that way, it was like watching Schindler’s List: bearing witness. It is not supposed to be easy, or comfortable.

    **SPOILERS AHEAD**

    I felt a kinship with Hannah, and with Skye, and somewhat with Clay and Tony. Hannah made several attempts to hang on to living. Each time a door closed, she tried to find a window. She tried the old adage that to have a friend you have to be a friend, continuing to have compassion for the closeted girl even after the girl spread more slut rumors about her. How many times can a vulnerable person get kicked in the gut before they stop trying to get on their feet again? She finds herself trapped in her parents’ disappointment when her mother refuses her offer of restitution for the bank deposit she lost, blocking her only avenue of making things better. Hannah’s last effort (school counselor) caused exponential harm to her situation, so where to turn? I was glad they depicted that there are real risks to turning to the official “helpers.” Jessica sums it up great when Clay asks if she needs to see somebody, “Who? Did you listen to the last tape? Do you know what happens to girls who try to get help?”

    I can’t help but wonder whether Hannah might have noticed the support the adult members of the poetry club were poised to offer if she had encountered the librarian before the school counselor. Even though she had attended the club only briefly, Hannah definitely made an impression. “We’ve missed you at the group- Linda even wrote a poem about it” felt like the possibility of a lifeline, but Hannah was already too battered, too betrayed to feel the possibility there for understanding, support, love. She had no trust left after the counselor’s victim-blaming misogynist assumptions over-wrote her story before she could even tell it. She had already experienced the catharsis that recording the tapes brought, and writing might have “bled off” enough of the toxic emotions of the moment to get her through the rest of high school. It was that feeling of catharsis that gave her the glimmer of hope to attempt to keep living. If she had entrusted that spark of hope to the Lindas in her world instead of the Official Helper, she might have had a chance.

    Throughout the series, we see Clay being torn up by Hannah’s pain as he goes through the ordeals with her via the tapes. One of the best scenes, that conveys the best support, is toward the end, when Clay reaches out to Skye and asks if they can hang out sometime, like now. She asks if he’s okay, and their exchange is perfect: “No. Is that alright?” And Skye replies that yeah, that’s alright. That’s the message we all need when we are Not Okay: it’s alright that you’re not okay, I will be with you as you are.

  3. I don’t have Netflix so can’t watch this but am glad that someone is trying to address this topic of concern, especially for young people. I watched PBS News Hour where they had a pro and con presentation about this. The con person was a young woman psychologist who heads the support services for some school system that I don’t remember. She went on and on about how people should not be allowed to watch this because it would cause copy cat suicides all over the country. At the end of her presentation she stated, “After all, in the end Hannah’s suicide points to the fact that she had an underlying mental disorder that was never addressed or treated.” It still shocks me how “mental health” professionals are still spewing this tripe to the public every time that they get a chance. Excuse me!!!! Trying to kill yourself does not mean that you are “mentally ill” or have some kind of “mental disorder”. It points to the fact that you’ve lost all hope about your life where you are experiencing overwhelming distress concerning things you are experiencing or did experience or things that are done or were done to you. Here this woman is, a person in a high position of authority who coordinates services for thousands of kids and she’s spewing out this bull feces on national television on one of the most prestigious news organizations in the country.

    I know about suicide since trying to kill myself is what got me into the wonderful “mental health” system. When you have no hope and feel that you have no one to turn to who cares about you, suicide is the place you tend to end up going to. Our refusal to address suicide full on in a realistic manner is no help at all. And the most unhelpful people of all when you reach out to them in desperation are the people in the so-called “mental health” system. The one thing that they care about is liability to them if you kill yourself after dealing with them. They don’t really care about you. If they did they would sit down and ask you what was going on in your life to drive you to this point and then they would listen to what you have to say. Instead, they strip you naked, make you put a paper gown on that you can’t use to strangle yourself with, and then they cart you off to a locked ward where you will get zapped with the toxic drugs against your will. And never once will they ask you about what is going on in your life. I speak from experience. When I tried to talk with the psychiatrist in charge of my case he stated that he didn’t have time to listen to “all that” but was I taking the “antidepressant” and the mood stabilizer? The only ones who cared enough to listen to me were student nurses and I suspect the reason why they did listen is that they were new and innocent and the system hadn’t turned them to the dark side yet.

    Yes, people need to watch this program and then they need to talk about what they saw and how they feel about it. And if a majority of people are truly honest they will have to admit that they’ve considered or thought about taking their own life at difficult periods in their lives.

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