OP-ED: ‘13 Reasons Why’ is The Suicide Prevention Show We’ve Needed

Jun. 16, 2018 / By

On May 18, 2018, teens and some adults everywhere were “shook.”

Let me explain.

For those who do not live on a faraway island, in a hole, under a rock, with no Wi-Fi, you have probably heard of or have already binge watched the entire second season, like me, of Netflix’s original series “13 Reasons Why.” But if you were not blessed with the opportunity to stand witness to or sit witness to (get it, ‘cause you’re sitting and watching?) this amazing show, to summarize: Season one of “13 Reasons Why” is about a girl, Hannah Baker, in a small town high school who was constantly bullied by her peers so bad that she commits suicide.

Hannah left behind tapes listing 13 reasons why she committed suicide. Of the 13, 11 were names of her classmates. The classmates’ behavior toward her, which included cyber bullying, stalking and sexual assault, left lasting effects on her life. Following Hannah’s parents discovery of the tapes, they believe that the school’s neglect was responsible for their daughter’s death. This season, we get to uncover Hannah’s death and 13 reasons why from the perspective of her family and classmates.

This season got a lot of love but also a lot of backlash. Granted, some of the scenes were a little graphic. In the last episode, one of the antagonists, Montgomery, and his friends corner Tyler in a bathroom; they beat him up, hold him down and force the end of a broomstick into him. This scene drove people on Twitter to hysteria, although the beginning literally warned viewers that there will be disturbing scenes. And people still chose to watch it. But I honestly think that scene was necessary. It was graphic, of course, but people need to realize that situations like that happen in real life.

I personally believe that is one of the best things about “13 Reasons Why” — they are not afraid to talk about different traumas that people actually have to deal with and suffer through on a daily basis, no matter how disturbing, unlike other shows that try to avoid “controversial” subjects.

The show’s purpose is to help people who suffer from suicidal thoughts, but many have argued that it instead “romanticizes suicide.” But how does watching a girl slit her wrist make suicide seem more appealing? And if you are paying attention and actually watch the show and think for yourself instead of believing reviews from wanna-be critics, you can clearly see — especially in season two — the message is so clear and simple.

Season two is the aftermath of Hannah’s death. After Hannah kills herself, her mother is miserable, Clay is heartbroken and her friends are traumatized. This furthers the show’s message: that suicide should not be an option because it only hurts everyone who loved them and all those around them. A person killing themselves does not fix problems nor help anyone. And I think the show is trying to make people think twice about suicide, which makes “13 Reasons Why” a suicide prevention show.

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Chantera Walton

I'm 17 years old, and I'm a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. After graduating, I will be attending college locally to major in journalism. I've loved writing since I was a little girl, writing exaggerated and elaborate stories about the people and things in my life. I'm an introvert so my free time is spent watching my faves on Netflix.