By now I think most people have seen or heard about the new Netflix series 13 reasons why. I first discovered it through a Facebook thread prior to its release & was really eager to watch it. Little did I know what the show was truly about & once I started watching it really opened my eyes. I haven’t read the book & I’m not going to pretend that I knew about the book prior to the series but I think Netflix made a good choice in creating this series. It’s reached a whole new audience & has really got people thinking about mental health.
Now days I don’t think talking about mental health is such a taboo but it’s still looked down upon or as we all know made a trend. It’s crazy to think it has taken a TV show to really make an impact on people but that’s modern times. People are more interested when it’s a trend but luckily this trend has a meaning behind it & will hopefully teach people something. If you don’t know already the series is about a girl (Hannah) who commits suicide & leaves 13 tapes which are direct towards certain people. Each tape describes how a person has impacted her life which ultimately led to her suicide. It follows Clay’s discovery of the tapes & his journey to finish the tapes. There’s a lot of flashbacks & there’s definitely a lot of triggering material so I don’t think the programme is for everyone. It’s very hard hitting & each scene is portrayed very honestly so it can definitely affect people negatively.
It explores suicide, anxiety, depression, rape & bullying so there’s a lot of triggers throughout but the message behind it is important. It does make you think about how your actions effect others, sometimes the smallest thing to you is the biggest to someone else. I think we all know this & how we should/shouldn’t treat people but that doesn’t stop these things happening. People get bullied daily, people commit suicide daily & people suffer from these mental conditions daily. Its not going away by itself. The series really shows you how such small actions can build & become to much. Maybe your small addition isn’t anything to you but if you were targeted constantly every tiny detail becomes a lot.
Rumours & slut shaming are so key to this story because that’s how it starts. One simple rumour that becomes Hannah’s life, she is now that person. She is treated differently because of that rumour, because of slut shaming & people abuse her just because of one photo. Every action that follows stems from that rumour & more just build on top. It’s not just the teenagers who slut shame within the programme, even the adults dismiss the truth & victim blame. The adults are just as central to the story as the teenagers which I think draws in an older audience. As you watch I think you become more distressed at how people treat the issues discussed because you can’t imagine that being true but it happens. Bullying, sexual assault & suicide are normalised & that may be atrocious but that also could be someone’s reality.
I do feel the audio tapes were pretty distressing. The whole concept of leaving a trail behind when you commit suicide is just strange but it tells the story & gives you an insight into each person’s view on the events. I think the impact they have on Clay is worrying just because he is clearly suffering prior to discovery the tapes & they just add to it. He’s just lost a friend & is overcoming his own issues & these tapes throw him back into that suffering. Plus I don’t think he really was to blame for Hannah’s issues. He may have had an outburst or two at her but he is allowed to have feelings. He respected her & actually liked her for who she was. However it also shows what mental state Hannah was experiencing to see another side to the situation.
I also found myself feeling annoyed at Hannah at points to & that’s okay. I don’t think all the scenes are produced to make you feel pity towards her because nobody’s perfect. She does dismiss people when they are being nice & she can be rather selfish but you know what she’s also an everyday person. Nobody is perfect, we all have flaws & we all do things that aren’t okay. However the notion that someone can be saved by others when in a suicidal state isn’t something we should be teaching people. You can’t save people who are mentally ill; yes you can treat them better & offer them help but their mental health isn’t based on you. Their mental health is something personal to them that they ultimately have control over. They are the only person who can truly save themselves. People around them can affect their mental health but the notion that one boy showing you love would have saved you is pretty much bullshit. That’s not a healthy message to put across.
I think it’s got everyone talking & thinking about their actions which is definitely needed when it comes to these issues, however the show has flaws. It explores mental health & suicide in a very frank way which of course can trigger individuals & can be viewed as glamourising it. It has a skewed view of mental health & doesn’t always portray it in the best light. On the positive side it’s shown us we all need to take a step back, look at ourselves & reflect on how we treat others. We’ve all experienced nasty people & probably done something horrible ourselves but we can change our behaviours. It’s never too late to redefine yourself.