Powerful, painful, important. “13 Reasons Why” is a new Netflix series based on a popular book that looks to tackle difficult subjects such as suicide, rape and bullying.
The show follows Clay Jensen, a high school junior grappling with the loss of his friend Hannah Baker to suicide.
Hannah narrates the show through a series of 13 tapes she left behind, each dedicated to a person and reason that led her to kill herself. This format provides a unique perspective of suicide by telling it through the lens of the one suffering.
The stories told on each tape give raw and personal accounts of bullying, abuse and the effects they leave on a person. The format of the show also illustrates how bullying builds and each event slowly takes its toll until the victim can take no more.
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The show serves as a reminder that our actions and words are not without consequences, both positive and negative. No one person killed Hannah, but all of them together left her feeling lost and alone.
Throughout the show, as Hannah recounts these difficult memories, she often notes she wished they had fought a little harder for her. This is an important message because it demonstrates that even in her darkest hour, she still had hope that someone would step in and stop her, encouraging viewers to be more attentive to the people in their own life. She didn’t want to die, but she felt no one cared enough to notice the signs and intervene.
“13 Reasons Why” is tough to watch and though it is made for entertainment, it’s bringing to light highly emotional and painful realities in a very raw way. Graphic scenes of rape, suicide and violence give viewers a look into the worst of human suffering.
Some episodes begin with warnings of graphic content, but the subject matter in every episode is difficult and should be watched with discretion as some scenes can be triggering without warning.
Selena Gomez is one of the show’s executive producers. Gomez has dubbed the series a “passion project” of hers and has been public with her own struggles with depression and anxiety. She has stated that she hopes the show helps young adults understand suicide and bullying in order to prevent it and help loved ones.
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“13 Reasons Why” certainly sends a message. I finished the series feeling emotionally drained and more aware of my actions and thoughts. I find myself more attentive to the people around me and the impact I have on others with every encounter.
This is what the show wants — to enlighten viewers on the everyday sufferings of someone dealing with depression and bring it to the forefront of discussion in hopes that those suffering can get help, and those not can better understand.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit 13reasonswhy.info for resources and information.