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Articles > Mental Health June, 06, 2017

The Best Thing You Can Learn From ’13 Reasons Why’

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A lot of people see ‘13 Reasons Why’ as just another teen TV series, made for the sole purpose of Netflix and chill, but it’s actually far more than that…

It finally allows the taboo of suicide, rape and bullying and their harsh reality to be openly represented and discussed on our screens. It is a step in the right direction, allowing us teenagers to evaluate our daily lives and see how others and our own actions affect the world we live in.

13 Reasons why: Clay walking down hallway surrounded by highschool students

13 Reasons Why – Netflix

If you haven’t been binge-watching the series like the rest of us, ‘13 Reasons Why’ follows Clay Jensen as he tries to uncover the reasons behind the suicide of his classmate and crush, Hannah Baker. Along the way, he discovers that Hannah decided to end her life after a series of horrible experiences, brought on by various high school students.

For those of you who may have been introduced to ‘13 Reasons Why’ through the book, you may have experienced a different ending to the Netflix series. Even so, I’m sure you would agree that they are both equally as honest and as effective as one another in delivering Hannah’s (or Jay Asher’s) message.

There is no easy way to describe or show suicide, just as there is no easy way to show rape or bullying. But that didn’t stop Selena Gomez from producing the series and I for one am so glad she did. In addressing these topics on screen, the extremely graphic and unsettling scenes of suicide and rape allow the severity and traumatic nature of these acts to be experienced by all those watching, even if it is only second-hand.

13 reasons why - Clay and Hannah talking

13 Reasons Why – Netflix

Discussing the series with my friends, I’ve realised that it is not just me who feels this way – more and more people around me are relating to the series and are sharing their thoughts on it. This show has started a discussion, which is something that is so important in tackling rape, suicide and bullying. In creating a series focused on these issues, it has sparked the development of awareness and willingness to openly discuss such topics among young people.

Personally speaking, the series has allowed me to finally see the flaws in how I treat people. It has also allowed me to assess how people treated me, as well as how I react (or don’t react) when I see such things happening. Finally, my eyes have opened and my voice is beginning to rise. I’m not saying that I will notice the signs every time or that I may save someone’s life, but my perspective has been widened and my understanding of these issues since watching the series has grown.

If anything, the most important lesson I have taken from this is that we must begin to be kind to one another. No maybes and no buts. We don’t have to like everyone, but we need to be mindful of our actions as we never know how they’re going to affect someone. In order to fight suicide, bullying and rape, we need to change. Now that we are aware, we can no longer ignore our responsibilities. We need to help one another.

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  1. Chanelle

    I like the idea of this but in reality showing on tv as a popular tv show, in a way idolizes for some people the idea of suicide and rape and it as provoked some teens to commit suicid in a reaction to the tv series. In one way it shows a good site into thing but in another way it is still puttinf things out there and giving teens and people ideas if they don’t understand the true meaning of the serie.

  2. Melek Sidibenali

    Your points are absolutely right and straight to the point, our actions define who we are, so we better be careful when we criticise anyone.

  3. AAN

    I think that 13 reasons why was a great show exploring the issues that many people mainly teenagers may experience, it shows how situations should not be dealt with and how asking for help could actually benefit you and prevent bigger issues. It shows teens around the world about how you should treat others and how something as small as name calling could lead to bigger consequences and that we should value everyone’s thoughts and opinions. However i do understand people and when they say it exposes a lot of issues to the audience but i feel this exposure is important to understand.

  4. M.T

    As a film student I believe it is important to discuss not just the social statements the show makes but also the cinematography of the show and the shows quality as a whole. Suprisingly I that the impressive transitions between Hannah’s tape narration of past events and Clay’s perspective of present are rarely discussed. These transitions are seemless and is reminiscent of Edgar Wright’s work. Sadly in the later half of the season when the other tape owners get more focus these transitions are used less and less and the entire show feels like a generic teen drama. I find these transitions to be the source of “13 Reasons Why”s personality/style rather then its subject matter. They also cause the show to stand out from its source material. I worry that the second season will lack this personality (As the second half of season 1 does) and will have a simular lackluster quality.

    • HENNA AKHTAR

      i value your opinion but I do believe the show is directed towards young adults and teenagers and so the generics are something that are likely to follow. The cinematic side is what encapsulates many viewers in my eyes, no matter how great a message is, its execution must be equally great to get a reaction out of the viewers. I the second season will not disappoint and bring more topics to light for further discussion.

  5. Cordelia

    I think that henna has beautifully and eloquently highlighted the truth of ’13 reasons why’ her writing style is mature and relatable, wanting to see more from you!

  6. Amirah

    Thank you for your insightful opinion. I connect with this viewpoint as it explores many of the shows central issues. I hope to see more reviews from you in the future!xoxo

  7. Asmar

    I loved this show. It shows how an individual is affected by someone else’s actions. One action or one word can destroy someone’s life. We have to be careful towards our actions and our words.